Leadership assimilation and on-boarding


This is a well established, but still relatively unknown method, to give a new leader and his team a head-start in their work together

The research on the success rate of hiring or promoting executives shows that in 25 to 50% of the cases they fail to deliver what they were hired for, at a total cost to the company of 10 to 25 times their base salary. This has several causes.

One is the lack of attention paid to the process of 'on-boarding'. This is an assimilation process: assimilation into existing teams, the team the executive leads and the team of the boss in which the executive resides as well.

Getting acquainted as a team, getting to know each other personally enough to build a dream-team takes months, even if people are working in the same building. For virtual teams, it takes even longer to build the strong relationships needed to be successful.

Too often team and leader rapidly get on the wrong track together, because implicit expectations, fears, motivations are not put openly on the table. These start playing a destructive role behind the scenes. If things eventually end well, it has usually taken too much time and effort than would have been required with better preparations.

The goal of a LEADERSHIP ASSIMILATION SESSION is to give the new leader and his team a head-start for their joint journey into the future.

As a start, all the questions, feedback, needs, beliefs, worries, expectations, plans, prejudices, values are collected through personal conversations with all team-members, protected by 100% confidentiality.

Next, still under confidentiality, all this information is summarized and fed-back in a team-meeting as a basis for a frank discussion.

This procedure will considerably shorten the process of familiarizing. It also eliminates misunderstandings from the very start, before they start living their own destructive lives.


1. Preparation:

All team members and the new leader receive an email with a few questions about the team and the leader.

The questions help everybody to start thinking about themselves, the new leader, the team and the business.

The participants don’t limit themselves to these questions, but note any concerns they might have.

YOU personally

  • What would you like to know about the new leader?
  • What style of leadership (or combination) do you prefer to perform at your very best: democratic, consensual, affiliative, pacesetter, authoritative, micromanager, coaching…?
  • What style of leadership demotivates you?
  • What concerns do you have about the new leader becoming the leader of the team?
  • What do you expect most from the new leader in terms of information, actions, attitude etc…?


  • What keeps your team from being a dream-team: what should your team continue to do, do more, do less, stop doing, to be most successful?
  • What do you think the team as a whole needs most from the new leader to function at its best?
  • Do you see strengths, weaknesses or issues in the team the new leader should know about or tackle?

Ideally the new leader's superior and key peers are interviewed as well, to develop a more multi-dimensional view on the person and obtain a stronger basis to give feedback to the new leader.

2. One-to-one meetings with the new leader and all team members

I meet with the team members to solicit the most candid and clear feedback, questions and ideas.

Because thereafter I only use information I got from at least three people, or after asking special permission, the source of any feedback remains anonymous and feedback is 100% confidential.

3. The Leadership Assimilation Session.

  1. Meeting with the team without the teamleader to define common trends, priorities etc...
  2. Introduction of the new leader: his ideas, his plans, as transparent as possible, explaining his own expectations, first experiences, directions for use, motivators, demotivators, history...
  3. Break
  4. Meeting of the team and the new leader together. I present the feedback from the team.
  5. The new leader discusses these subjects with the team. The team members decide themselves if and when, they want to give up their anonymity on a particular subject, but nobody ever uncovers the anonymity of others.
  6. Together with the team, the new leader establishes a plan for the way forward. The new leader leads this part of the meeting himself. I facillitate only where necessary.

4. Session to get to know each other personally