How to Take the Reins From a Seasoned Force Multiplier

Starting a new job is always intimidating. But starting a job where the outgoing Force Multiplier (in my case Hallie Warner, former Chief of Staff to Adam Hergenrother) has been working alongside the CEO for over a decade is downright scary!

Hi! My name is Jenna Stewart. I’m the new kid on the block here at Adam Hergenrother Companies, taking the reins from Hallie as the new Force Multiplier to Adam Hergenrother.

How did I get here?

I’m kind of a mixed bag of career experience. I graduated with a PR degree and started working with a lobbying firm immediately after college. I spent 5 years doing that before I realized I didn’t want to continue in politics, so I went on to spend the next 10 years working as the Author Events Manager for a publishing company. I then took a job as an Executive Assistant to the Superintendent of a large school district here in Vermont.

Before I go on, let me talk about Hallie for a minute. Hallie Warner, who served as Force Multiplier to Adam (first as Executive Assistant, then as Chief of Staff) for 13 years, with many other titles, responsibilities, and hats during that time (including spearheading this blog and podcast) is a force of nature. Within minutes of talking to her, I was blown away by her professional strength and charisma.

Hallie reached out to me on LinkedIn to let me know that she was leaving and they were hiring for an Executive Assistant position. To be honest, I let it sit in my inbox for a few weeks. Was I interested? Yes. But, I liked my job and I was fiercely loyal to my boss. So, I let it sit.

During that time, I started floating Adam’s name around, and people immediately told me I should apply. Inevitably, their next words were, “Where is Hallie going?” because Hallie’s name was so closely associated with Adam’s—as most Force Multiplier’s names are! At the time I didn’t know, and ultimately that’s Hallie’s story to tell, but I’ll certainly be watching for her next big thing!

Needless to say, I decided to apply and the rest is history.

What does this have to do with you?

One, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself, as you’ll be hearing from me more regularly on The Founder & The Force Multiplier blog and podcast. 🙂

Two, I want to share how you can have a successful handover from one Force Multiplier to another, because I just experienced one of the best.

So, whether you are trying to onboard a new Force Multiplier or you are the new Force Multiplier, here are 5 things to remember:

  1. Expectations and job responsibilities MUST be clear. This type of job is too important and fast paced for the water to be muddy. If you are an outgoing Force Multiplier, you need to set your expectations for the role and set them early. I mean in the first phone interview early. As the new hire, I knew right from the start what this job was going to entail. The message was clear, repeated, and put into writing. It was also paired with many well-maintained documents of important information, website logins, passwords, and important people to contact and get to know within the first few weeks of starting. Be thorough.
  2. Expectations are a two way street – if you’re the one stepping in, you must know what you want and ask for it. It’s important for the new Force Multiplier to be upfront about what they need in order to be successful. If you don’t ask for what you need before you begin, you’ve just done everyone involved a disservice. There’s nothing worse than starting a new job on a different page than your boss. What are some examples of things to discuss? Normal working hours, dress code, personal assistant expectations, flexibility for hybrid/remote work, travel expectations, etc. The list can go on and on. Make a list of what is important to YOU.
  3. Share internal knowledge. The outgoing Force Multiplier is a fountain of information. Drink from it! And, if they don’t readily pour you a glass, ask for one. Leaving a job after a long period of time, where a lot of work has been done and relationships have been built, can be really difficult for the person leaving. Be mindful of that. The most important you can do as a new Force Multiplier is listen, take notes, and ask questions.
  4. Provide examples. As an outgoing Force Multiplier you know your Founder best. You know how they like their calendar organized, their daily schedule laid out, their emails written, and what kind of seltzer they drink. Provide examples. This will help set the precedent for the new Force Multiplier and be a tool in their toolbox for success.
  5. Check in after onboarding. Training is exhausting for both parties. A lot of information is exchanged in a short period of time. As the outgoing Force Multiplier you might want a clean break—and that’s understandable! But, if you can, check in. See how your new hire is doing and ask if they have additional questions or need help a few weeks after the transition. It’s amazing how many things come to the surface once the dust settles and someone is functioning in the new role.

The success of a Founder is closely aligned with that of their Force Multiplier. Whether you are outgoing or onboarding, keep in mind that the goal is the same: a successful transition and as little disruption as possible for your Founder.

For additional resources from The Founder & The Force Multiplier, click here.

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