Promised Land or a Mirage?

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I recently read an article about whether you should move with your manager to another organisation and personally didn’t agree with all of what was said. Here is my view from what I have experienced.

I believe people who are approached by ex-bosses to come to the new company should tread carefully. If they approach you at the time they take the role and want you and others to go to the new company, this is called a lift out. It is very attractive for a company to take out the competition by hiring their best team.

I know it is appealing to go and work for someone you like and work well with as you may be fearful of a change in culture within your existing organisation. Over my 25 years of doing executive search, time and again I have seen people jump ship to go to the promised land, just to find out that it was a mirage and nothing more than a desert.

Because you know the boss, the trust level is very strong and therefore due diligence is very low. You believed everything they told you and the promises for more opportunity and advancement, better bonuses and chance for equity. We will build this dream together, you were told. No bureaucracy and you will be master of your destiny. Does this ring a bell?

To be fair, they believe what they are telling you because this is what they have been told and they are excited. They want to bring over the best team they can and usually have good intentions. It may be the promised land but in order to be sure there are a few things you need to do first.

• Every opportunity should be checked out in detail as if you don’t know the boss – just like you would any other outside opportunities.
• Take the personal and emotional side out and treat it like you are investing all your income into it and ask yourself whether there will be a return.
• Make sure promises are in writing. If they can’t put it in writing, why not?
• Equity promises need to be put in writing, especially if you are leaving for a lower salary because they promise equity. If not, why not? (this is a red flag).
• Lift outs are risky because other employees in the organisation will be resentful of the new team coming in.
• Your boss may not be able to carry through with the promises they are making because the new culture may not allow it – (remember, everything in writing) If they can’t then it is an empty promise – run.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look at opportunities from people that you like and have worked with in the past. My view would be to:

• wait until the dust settles in your current organisation – there could be good opportunities for you there, 6 - 12 months is a good length.
• put your hand up and apply for your boss’s job to show your company you are interested, losing a boss, or a restructure could be your next opportunity.
• If you don’t get the role, see who the new person is, as they may make the changes you have always wanted.

Bottom line is, take the emotion out and assess with a fresh eye, do your homework, ensure everything is in writing and get an unbiased perspective as well. Regards, Judith

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