09th May 2013

Top Tips for Intel's Krzanich

Just a few weeks shy of the annual meeting, Intel has announced that current COO Brian Krzanich will replace Paul Otellini as chief executive on May 16th. The leadership shake-up comes at a crucial time, as the company’s profitability continues to drop in the wake of the mobile computing revolution, which it is lagging behind. Skeptics are questioning the shrewdness of the board’s decision however, feeling that an external appointee would have indicated a real and necessary commitment to big changes – which is what Intel desperately needs right now. Promoting the COO to CEO is not a bold move, but a move the struggling chipmaker has made a number of times previously, with varying degrees of success.

 Krzanich, 52, is an Intel veteran, having spent most of his working life with the company. He joined Intel in 1982 as an engineer and became COO in January 2012. As an internal appointee, Krzanich will face a unique set of challenges as he transitions into his new role. Below we outline our top tips for the internal appointee to get on track for a strong and successful first 100 days.

Let go of your previous role

The internal appointee is a known entity within a company with an established reputation and relationships – so it can be tempting to stay involved in the previous role, and within that comfort zone. But, your ability to function and lead effectively in your new role will be compromised if you are still involved in the old role. To ensure accelerated performance from day 1, you need to detach 100% from the old role and focus 100% on the new role.

Use your emotional intelligence

The internal appointee needs to be particularly adept at handling potentially contentious emotional issues. You may have colleagues who applied unsuccessfully for your role, and you may end up managing people who were previously your peers - this can lead to resentment and resistance. Patience, resilience and a clear vision will help you meet these challenges.

Deal effectively with your predecessor

The legacy of a role predecessor can stretch far and long. This can prove to be a considerable obstacle to the new leader’s mandate for change. Your team may feel an allegiance to your predecessor and a resistance to you, or suggested changes may be perceived as criticism of your predecessor. To avoid this, you should contract upfront with the board that you will be allowed the space and freedom to implement change. Then you need to draw up a detailed first 100 days plan which lays out a clear route for success.

As Intel continues to lose market share all eyes will be on Krzanich as he tries to steer the beleaguered chipmaker back to profitability. It won’t be easy, but if Krzanich addresses the above key issues he should be on track for a successful first 100 days, despite the challenges inherent to being an internal appointee.

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