“Seeing” Executive Assimilation

This cartoon appears in the April 9th issue of the New Yorker, in the Create Your Own Caption contest. What do you see here?

New Yorker Cartoon - Executive Onboarding?

What might the man with the glasses be thinking and feeling walking into a meeting like this? The New Yorker cartoon depicts the challenges of effective executive assimilation. The newly hired executive looks just like the talented, professional and experienced executive you just hired. He has been duly informed of all the explicit information available: he knows his role and responsibilities, where he sits on the org chart, who he reports to, who is on his team and how much his compensation package is worth.

What he does not know is what is truly important and what is hard to discern unless you have been around long enough to see what is under the “hoods and hats.” This hidden information is critical to success.

The newly hired executive has just entered his first meeting at the head table, the place in the organization where all critical meetings are held. He has in reality walked into a room of complete strangers. He does not know what motivates them; he does not know what is important to them individually and collectively; he does not know how to influence them or how they make decisions. In summary: he knows nothing about the key players or how the organization works. The challenge: Given the new executive’s background, experience and income they he will expect him to be immediately productive to justify and maximize their investment.

On-boarding anyone?

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