I guess I should have expected this, but I was surprised on two counts.

1)    Ellen didn’t want the role in investor relations. She wants to be head of marketing. If she can’t do it here, she says she’s going to find somewhere else to do it.  So we put her in a “special projects” position. Her only project is finding another job. I’m glad we gave her the choice.

2)    Ellen’s team’s reaction to Ellen moving off. A couple of people actually asked me “What took you so long?” Almost immediately, it feels like a weight is off their backs. Glad we didn’t wait any longer.


Implementing role changes is fraught with danger.  With everything a new leader says and does, everyone else is asking “What does this mean for me?”  When you start implementing role changes, they know.  Some won’t like it.  That’s why I’m so glad I through this through in advance and was ready for different scenarios.

I think I struck the right balance during the week of keeping Jack, Susan, and HR informed.  Since we had thought through this contingency, I didn’t need to get any more input from them.  It was important to keep them informed so they weren’t surprised when Ellen went to see them.  Both Jack and Susan were terrific.  They were supportive of Ellen’s desires, but were clear on what choices she had and did not have.

The New Leader’s Journal is a fictional exercise illustrating the prescriptions and tools in the 3rd edition of The New Leader’s 100-Day Action PlanClick here to request an executive summary of the book.  Click here to order a copy.