Taking over a new team is a challenge of dimensions. Every time I’ve done it I have had to make changes, i.e. hiring and re-allocating members. Quantifying the displacement: I’d say roughly 20%.
As I reflect I’d say that one tactic stands out as particularly effective. Can you guess it?
Create an external enemy!
The enemy can be external or internal. You can make it up or it can be real. This is one element where perception steers reality.
The enemy must be believable. Your colleagues must be able to feel the threat in their gut. It should draw a bit of “oh sh..”, we better shape up for this one.
What you need to aim your team at is a visceral threat that they can organize around.
It’s easy to point to the enemy as the competitor in your space. For Google it is Microsoft. For Coke it is Pepsi.
It may be that the enemy is internal.
The enemy cannot be too vague. You must give your team a clear sense of who they are facing. The enemy must have its weaknesses. Your team must feel the mission is not going to be in vain.
Finding an enemy is not the hardest part. There is a catch.
With an enemy upon your organization, your team will look for leadership. The shared enemy will unite them but you have to lead with direction. You as the leader must set out the goal for your team to achieve. What war will they have to fight and why (it better be worth it!)?
It comes back to you. Without the vision and your ability to sell it, you won’t be able to capitalize on your forces united.
If you fail to lead you will lead to failing. The enemy will win.