Should you honour the decisions of previous leadership?

Written by Annie Makoff-Clark Tuesday 05 September 2023
Dr Victoria Carr CMgr MCMI had to overturn nearly every policy, system and process put in place by previous leadership to ensure the future success of her school. But when, and how, should you overturn decisions made by your predecessors?
A no u-turns roadsign

Last year employees at California-based insurer Farmers Group were told they could work remotely on a permanent basis. Barely a year later, the company’s new CEO, Raul Vargas, completely reversed the policy, calling everyone back to the office at least three days a week. 

This is just one example of how any manager starting a new role can expect to face some big decisions. 

The reversal faced significant backlash, not least from those employees who had made major life changes as a result of the initial policy – selling their homes and moving to different US states. 

Vargas insists the reversal was to improve “collaboration, creativity and innovation” – but as a leadership decision affecting nearly 60% of the workforce, it could have significant implications on employee engagement, morale and brand reputation.

It’s a cautionary tale for any new leader or manager considering making radical changes to previous policy. It also brings up a question about whether incoming managers and leaders should honour to the decisions of previous leadership – a situation that Dr Victoria Carr CMgr MCMI knows all too well. 

Learn when it’s okay to U-turn on the decisions of previous leadership


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