Transition management & knowledge acceleration

People churn is extremely costly to any business. There are the costs associated with knowledge loss, information transfer and getting new people up to speed with company structures, clients, operations, expectations, etc. So why don’t more companies invest more time and effort to get new people up to speed quicker?

A lot of companies think they do have an induction program, but not many deliver it or continue to intergate it. I know that throughout my career, I gave lip service to an induction program, but have never really received or invested enough time in new people.

When I read The First 90 Days, it got me thinking about the transitions I have made throughout my career, and that I should have invested more time in putting together a structured set of questions/knowledge transfer to help guide me through any transition (ie I should have invested in my career rather than expect other people to do it for me). Companies expect you to hit the ground running, but it is hard when you don’t have all of the information (or you haven’t prepared anything).

I realised that I didn’t go into any of my new jobs with a plan or with a list of questions that I should have asked to get me up to speed quicker. Watch out Burnett’s. I have already questions for the different departments within the agency: finance, HR, clients, creative, digital, strategy, production, management, etc.

As a sneak peak, here are 10 generic questions I want to know about each of the client groups:

  1. Who is our primary client? Who is the supporting client/s? Who are the client partners we work with?
  2. What is the clients’ marketshare?
  3. Who are the major competitors? When was the last competitive review?
  4. What is their annual spend? Media? Production/agency?
  5. What is their typical activity? How open are they to doing new things?
  6. What are the clients expectations?
  7. What is working for clients within digital? Are they using any other digital providers? What are they getting from those companies that they aren’t getting from Leo’s?
  8. What services have organically grown with the client?
  9. Where are client details stored? Is there a central location?
  10. Does every client have a client plan?

The more time and effort spent in the first three months, from both employer and employee, the quicker the new employee (or me) reaches the break even point.


There are three key learnings to take out from this:

  1. Read ‘The First 90 Days’ by
  2. Think about what you know about your current role: How much of the information/knowledge is going to be the same? What else do you need to know?
  3. Put together the list of questions that you need answered in the first week, first month and first three months. You don’t need to go through these question by question, but it can be a checklist of questions you need answered in conversations.
  4. Refine your questions over time based on information you have received.
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