You have just been promoted to the new role you have been aspiring for the last 2 years. It has taken you sustained effort, commitment and focus to get there. But as you step into the new role you realise that unlike what you thought, getting this job is not the end of a journey but rather the beginning of a new and bigger one.
For any executive the first few months are critical and setting these up well can ensure that you not only settle into the new role but also start delivering results quickly.
Where do you start?
Often executives find that their calendar is swamped with either meetings or the pending tasks handed over from their predecessor. It is easy to let these take over your schedule and start directing you rather than the other way round. For any new executive, it is always a priority to do well and prove themselves in the new job. So starting right is important.
Step 1: Start with yourself
The first question to ask yourself is, “Who do I want to be in my new role?”
Many organisation have planning methodologies in place to assist their executives. Unfortunately, most of these focus on the things that need to be done rather than the executive himself. Before a leader can set a path to anything the first thing that he/she needs to do is look at themselves and ask who they are in a new role? Each role in an organisation requires shifts in behaviour, mindset and strategy.
A client of mine recently got promoted to replace his manager who had moved to another organisation. This meant that his erstwhile peers were now his subordinates. With the shift in authority and role, he realised that he needed to change his style and behaviour to establish his leadership with people who earlier were his equals in the organisation. He also realised that people whom he had seen as his managers’ peers were now his counterparts and he needed to change his behaviours when speaking to them as well.
Some questions that could clarify your thoughts would be:
- How do you need to be different from who you have been till now?
- Who will you be interacting with and in what capacity?
- What are the shifts that need to happen in your behaviour, your thinking, your working style?
- Six months from now who will you like to be known as?
- What are the leadership traits that you would want to be associated with your brand?
Step 2: What are the outcomes you want?
Often the first few days on the job can be daunting as you realise how much you don’t know. Peers who have been in the same role for ages can appear intimidating. At this point some amount of overwhelm is normal. The key is to start by focusing on what you would like to achieve. Six months from now what would you have liked to achieve in the new role? What does success look like in the new role? Here it is important not only to focus on what you will active in your business, but also to think in terms of what you would like to achieve in establishing your leadership, extending your influence and network, increasing your knowledge and skills, etc. Make a list and prioritise on where you would like to start.
Step 3: What do you need to do?
Now that you know who you need to be and what you need to achieve its time to get to action planning. It is important to get key stakeholders involved at this point and then start breaking down the tasks and assigning responsibilities. Focus on 2 themes:
- If you need to become who you want to what do you need to learn, adapt, change? What do you need to do that?
- If you want to achieve what you have planned what do you need to do?
If you would like to have achieved your sales targets what would need to happen ? What kind of relationships need to get established, What review mechanisms needs to get designed? What effort needs to be put in place?
If you have the first 2 steps charted right the third is the easiest to follow.
The biggest failing for a lot of leaders is to stubbornly hold on to the past. This could be past behaviours, past accomplishments, past strategies or working style. When you move the new role everything resets and it is important to take stock of what to keep and what to let go of. What worked before may or may not work now. Being flexible and willing to let go of the past is important for the success of tomorrow to take place.