The New Division Manager Who Failed Quickly


Clarity received a phone call from the Group Manager of a consumer-oriented retail business, a division a much larger company. A new Division Manager had been hired several months before for his enthusiasm and energy. His job was to revitalize and take this well established division up to the next level of performance in a highly competitive geographic marketplace. The new Division Manager was significantly younger than the employees in the division, most of whom had been there along time and seen quite a few Division Managers come and go. Instead of his positively impacting the organization, performance and revenue had actually fallen. The Group Manager was now considering the immediate termination of the new Division Manager.


  • The need for change and increased performance had never been effectively “sold” to or accepted by employees; no senior Group Manager visited the site nor stayed connected to adequately support the new Division Manager in his efforts;
  • This failure to position the organizational transition in advance left the new Division Manager to do it on his own; unfortunately he came on like a steam roller with little effort to create working relationships and shared commitments with his subordinates.
  • The staff was far more skilled at stonewalling the new manager than he was at creating organizational momentum; and
  • The situation had become so deteriorated that it was not recoverable.


  • Damage assessment was conducted with a recommendation made to hire a new Division Manager necessary prework and organizational change work executed with the participation of a credible Group Level manager who would fully support the incoming Division Manager.
  • An organizational assessment identified key influencers and thought leaders among staff.
  • A strategy was developed-including compensation and recognition- involving those keys influencers and thought leaders as partial owners of and full participants in organizational change.
  • A realistic financial plan was created. Performance Monitoring was integrated to recover from the failure of the initial effort and to restart and build momentum to achieve the Division’s performance goals.