“I’m six weeks into my new executive role, and I’m drowning…”
I often hear this from clients who have recently taken on a new senior leadership role. Expectations are high, the stakeholder world is complex, there’s plenty to learn, and there’s a real sense of urgency.
There’s a real buzz associated with getting stuck in so intensively, learning so much and adding value in so many areas. There’s a genuine pleasure in developing and setting out a vision or a strategy, and securing buy-in for that. It’s all good stuff.
We default to what made us successful in the past and just hit the accelerator pedal. But you can’t change gears when your foot is jammed on the accelerator!
So the trap is this: when we’re “running hot” we end up operating with tunnel vision. We don’t necessarily stretch towards the “discomfort zone” of what will make us successful in the future, and we don’t necessarily step back to spot the one conversation, the one relationship, the one move, that will make all the difference.
When you work 17-hour days, but overlook the biggest lever…
Last week, I spoke with a client, Chris, who is six weeks into the new role. He came to our conversation motivated but tired. He explained that he’d been working 17-hour days to meet the expectations of his CEO, the board, and his team.
Over the next hour, I slowed him down, and got him thinking about what really mattered, about what was driving him to take on so much, and what the critical ‘moments of truth’ were going to be.
As a result, he realised that there was one key meeting that was make-or-break for his new strategic plan. And he was so busy that he was under-preparing for this one critical moment!
When you take on a new leadership role, you have a fantastic opportunity to reinvent yourself and to operate at a new level, but you do have a choice.
You can just hit the accelerator pedal, and trust in busy-ness to get you through. But to nail your new leadership role, you need to change the quality of your thinking, and take yourself out of your comfort zone.
Get a fresh perspective
I’ve written an 8-part email series, Nailing Your New Leadership Role, that’s already helped hundreds of leaders change their perspective and stretch their thinking about their new management role.
These are not low-level management “how to’s”. You probably know those and you can Google all that. It takes you past the 30/60/90 day or 100-day new leader plans. These are mental shifts, insights and new ways of understanding yourself and your role. Once you get that right, the practical stuff comes a lot easier.
I’d be happy to send it to you if relevant. It’ll only be a fit if you’re stepping up to a new leadership challenge, and you’re keen to use the opportunity to ‘up-level’ how you operate.
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