Change Management on a Senior Executive Level

September 14, 2022
5 min read

To stay ahead of the competition, senior executives must be willing and able to adapt to change. This requires a well-managed change process ("change management") that can be implemented effectively across all levels of the organization, and it sometimes involves changing the management itself.

In this article, Poised will discuss the reasons for changing management and how to do it effectively at a senior executive level.

What Are the Change Management Models?

Organizational change movement is not as simple as posting job listings on LinkedIn. 

Here are some of the leading change methodologies:

The ADKAR Model

ADKAR is an acronym that stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. Created in 2003 by Jeff Hiatt, founder of Prosci, focuses on the human perspective (individual change) when driving change.

It focuses on gauging employee opinion through forums and open conversations; it assesses needs, worries, and desires. It provides training and guidance so that every employee can transition smoothly. ADKR focuses on employee buy-in; unless the change initiatives are supported, they won’t succeed.

8-Step Model of Change

John Kotter wrote a book called A Sense of Urgency that founded the theory of his change program. The steps outline how to unfreeze the change process, creating a group of volunteers from inside the organization (the guiding coalition). Creating a large vision and appreciating short-term wins are critical aspects of this change management theory. 

Why Change Management?

Many factors can necessitate organizational change, such as a current manager leaving or a shift in the company's direction, growth, or decline. For the company to succeed, it's essential to have exemplary leadership to guide it through these changes. In addition, new managers and team members can bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the company, which can help to revitalize it and improve performance.

A few benefits of hiring the right managers for your company include:

  • Increased efficiency/workflow
  • Improved morale
  • Greater accountability
  • Easier staffing decisions
  • More effective communication

Let's discuss some of the primary reasons to change management at the senior executive level:

A Current Manager Is Leaving

When a manager leaves a company, organizations often need to fill the position and ensure the business continues to run smoothly. You want to minimize the negative impacts and keep everyone affected by the change informed.

There are several reasons why changing management is vital in this type of situation:

  1. It can disrupt the employees who work under them. They may not know who will be taking over, what changes will be made, or what their role will be in a new organization. Change management can help to minimize this disruption by providing information and clarity about the change.
  2. The manager may have been in charge of project management or critical initiatives, and without them, there may be uncertainty about how those projects will progress. Implementing good change management will ensure that any projects underway continue progressing and are completed on schedule.
  3. It can be an opportunity for the company to improve its operations. The manager may have been in charge of specific areas that were not meeting expectations or performing well. With new leadership in place, the business may decide to shift operations or implement new processes to improve these areas.

Great change management can equip your team to implement changes effectively and without disruption. Adding in new technology or company-wide incentives can result in long and short-term wins. 

In short, hiring new leaders can significantly benefit companies, even if the outgoing manager is well-loved and respected. It can help to minimize disruption among employees, ensure that projects continue moving forward, and help to implement changes effectively.

A Current Manager Is Changing Positions

When a current manager changes positions, you'll want to replace them with a qualified individual. The change in management can impact the company in several ways, including:

Loss of Institutional Knowledge

Your manager may take with them valuable knowledge about the company and its operations. This can be difficult to recover, and it's essential to have someone in place who can continue moving the company forward.

Instability Within the Company

Change management can help to minimize the instability that often accompanies a change in management. By providing clarity and information about the change, you can help employees feel more secure and comfortable with the adjustments. The status quo is sometimes comfy, but the right types of change can transform a company for the better. 

Lack of Continuity

A change in management can often lead to a switch in direction for the company. Without proper change management in place, the changes can be abrupt and disruptive for employees and stakeholders alike. Implementing good change management will ensure that any adjustments are made gradually and with minimal disruption.

Poor Decision-Making

In some cases, a change in management can lead to poor decision-making as new leaders try to establish themselves within the organization. Effective change management considers input from all key stakeholders to ensure decisions are made efficiently and successfully.

Your Team Is Growing and Needs More Managers

As your team grows, you'll eventually need to add more managers to help support the additional employees. Change management helps to smooth this transition and keep the company on track to its goals and milestones.

Some things to consider when adding new managers:

  • The size of your team: You'll want to ensure that your managers are adequately equipped to handle the number of employees they'll be responsible for.
  • The skillset of your team: As your team grows, you may need to add managers with specific skill sets to support your initiatives. For example, if you're adding a customer service team, you might want to hire a manager with experience in that area.
  • The needs of your company: Your organization's needs will change as it grows. Your managers must be able to adapt and evolve.

Adding new managers can be challenging, but implementing change management can help make for a smooth and successful transition.

Your Team Is Restructuring

If your business is going through a merger or a restructuring, you may need to hire new managers and leaders. This is often because the old team may no longer be effective after the change. New leaders can help to guide the business through the change while helping to keep it on track with its overarching goals.

You'll want to find leaders with a proven track record of successful change management. The leaders should be able to communicate well and build a positive work environment. 

Tips for Changing Management as a Senior Executive

When you're a senior executive, you’ll need to find individuals with the right skills and experience who will also be a good fit for your organization.

The first step is to define the qualities that you're looking for. When creating a job posting, be sure to list the specific traits you're looking for in a manager or leader. This will help you narrow down the pool of candidates and make the selection process easier.

You'll also want to screen candidates carefully. Once you've received applications, look for evidence that candidates have the skills and experience required for the position, as well as the qualities that you're looking for.

Hold Multiple Stages of Interviews

After narrowing down the pool of candidates, it's time to conduct interviews. This is an opportunity to ask questions and get to know candidates better. Be sure to ask about their experience, approach to change management, and what they see as the biggest challenges facing your organization.

When hiring change leaders, consider conducting multiple interviews for each candidate. Besides helping you learn about their skills and experience, this allows you to see how they perform under pressure. You'll get a better sense of whether or not the candidate is a good fit for your organization.

Have a One-on-One With Each Candidate

When you’re looking to fill a high-level position, meeting with candidates one-on-one is the best way to gauge their skills and abilities. It also allows you to get to know them better as people. This is important, especially if you’re looking for someone to fill a senior executive role.

In a group interview, it can be challenging to gauge who the candidates are and what they’re capable of. You may not get a chance to ask them all the questions you want to, or you may not be able to see how they interact with others. Meeting with them one-on-one allows you to do both of those things.

You can ask them questions about their experience and their skills, and you can see how they react when they’re put on the spot. You can also get a fuller picture of their personality and whether or not they would be a good fit for your company.

If you’re looking for a change in management, meeting with candidates one-on-one is the best way to find the right person for the job. And using the Poised AI communication coach can help you make the most of each meeting.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

When you’re meeting with candidates, asking open-ended questions is essential. Doing so gives them a platform to really showcase their skills and experience.

Open-ended questions require candidates to think about their answers more deeply. They also give you a chance to see how well they communicate.

Some examples of open-ended questions you could ask candidates are:

  • What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?
  • What are some of your proudest professional accomplishments?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult decision.
  • What are some of the biggest obstacles you see in your role, and how do you plan on overcoming them?
  • What are your goals for the next five years?

Look at More Than Just a Resumé

Resumés are important, but they're not everything. Remember that people are what make a company great — not words on a sheet.

When hiring change leaders, take the time to evaluate more than just the resumé. Consider the candidate's experience, personality, and knowledge about the company's challenges. Pulling in a recruiter or a human resources professional can help identify people who might not be the obvious choice but would be the best choice.

For even more help, reach out to someone certified by the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP). These professionals study change management plans and can assist organizations through career growth, networking, and recommending proposed changes.

Look for Candidates With Communication Skills

Leaders and managers must be able to communicate effectively with their teams to manage change successfully. When interviewing candidates for leadership roles, ask about their change management skills and look for examples of times when they've successfully navigated change within an organization.

Candidates who can effectively communicate the change to their team and help them through the transition will be invaluable to your organization.

Any candidate you consider should be able to:

  • Clearly articulate the change that needs to be made.
  • Maintain a positive attitude towards change.
  • Listen to and understand others' perspectives.
  • Build consensus around a change.
  • Manage resistance to change.
  • Create a vision for change and inspire others to buy into it.
  • Implement change effectively.

If you're looking for leaders who can help your organization successfully navigate change, be sure to look for those with strong communication skills. Candidates who can effectively communicate change will be invaluable to your organization.

Find Candidates With Leadership Experience

Look for candidates with a history of taking charge and rallying people around a common goal. Their experience leading others through difficult times will be invaluable when managing change.

Ask each candidate about their experience leading teams through change, including examples of times when they've successfully navigated difficult transitions. The best leaders have experience dealing with the challenges that come with change.

Strengthen Your Interviewing Skills With Poised

Change management is one of the most important aspects of any business. It's what helps organizations adapt to new challenges and grow. When hiring change leaders, it's essential to look for candidates with communication skills, leadership experience, and knowledge about the challenges your company is facing.

Poised can help you improve your communication skills with each meeting and equip you to conduct better interviews. You'll even get real-time feedback during your interviews to ensure you're asking the right questions and allowing the interviewee enough time to make their case. If you want to be a stronger communicator and lead your team in the right direction, get started with our personalized plan today. 


How To Prepare Your Team for a New Boss | SHRM

How To Reorganize Your Department or Company | The Balance

Screening Resumes: A How-To Guide for Hiring Managers | TechTarget

​​About ACMP | The Association of Change Management Professionals

ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and Our Community | ResearchGate

John P. Kotter - Faculty & Research | Harvard Business School

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