Every growing organization will experience role transitions at some point. Whether a project is changing hands, an employee is moving into a promotion, or you’re hiring someone to take on a new position, you will want the transitions to go smoothly.
For the best ways to ensure successful transitions, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members share their best advice.
Whether you’re handing off a project to someone else or preparing someone to take on a new position in the company, what’s one tip you’d give to successfully prepare for a transition of roles, and why?
1. Understand the new person’s skills and work style
Get a good feel for the new person’s background, skills, and style of work. A person’s personal background, values, goals, and style are important in determining whether a working relationship can be mutually beneficial. Doing this makes you aware that the person will probably have different preferences for their work, dress, and the way they relate to people. —Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day
2. Provide resources and support
Share more than just the details. As important as it is to relay all of the small details of a project or position, there is so much more you can do to ensure the transition is successful. Go above and beyond in providing helpful resources. Provide support as you gradually hand over the reins. Then act as a mentor for any questions, challenges, and unexpected conflicts they encounter down the road. —Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
3. Share what you know
Make sure you focus on sharing your tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is the nuts and bolts of operations, typically already captured and easily accessed through standard operating procedures and training. Tacit knowledge is the insight and intuition you’ve gained through experience, but find difficult to codify or put into words. When you leave a position, you’ll take that valuable wisdom with you unless you pass it on. —Andrew Powell, Learn to Win
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4. Provide documentation
Make sure you provide the new person with thorough documentation. This can be done by meticulously notating your day-to-day activities and then converting those notes into general task lists and comments on how they’ve been completed in the past. —Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC
5. Go through hypothetical decisions
Walk them through some hypothetical decisions they will have to make. Take everything from ordinary situations to worst-case scenarios. Let them answer first. Correct anything you feel needs correcting ahead of time. The second part of this is to abide by their decision-making. Stand up for whatever choice they make, and work together to solve problems as necessary. —Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
6. Have the new person shadow their predecessor
The one thing I would always implement in such a transition is allowing the transitioning person to shadow the person already working in the role. If possible, allow them to work alongside the person who is leaving the role they are being promoted to. —Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
About the Author
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs.