5 Crucial Tips For Success Before You Start Your New Leadership Role

Securing a new executive role is exciting, especially when it offers career advancement and professional growth. Planning for success before diving into the position can give you a significant advantage.

With 15 years of experience coaching newly hired or promoted leaders, we recognise some common mistakes and the challenges of recovering from them in the early days. Here are five crucial tips to consider before embarking on your first day on the job.

1. Get to know the business

To what extent do you already know the business?

Regardless of your prior knowledge or research, there will be much to learn once you begin. Be curious and open to gathering diverse insights from various people on the business, its operations, opportunities and challenges.

Take detailed notes and use them to analyse the job and its context to understand fully what you are dealing with. If you discover any overlooked but problematic issues, address them promptly to create a positive impact in the short term.

Newly appointed leaders tell us that documenting their findings has been invaluable for deciding how they would make a difference in the new role and for drafting an initial business plan for their manager or the board. Keep these objectives in mind; they will help you shape the questions you ask and filter the information you are given.

Top Tip: Maintain a journal to record what you learn during your first 90 days. 

2. Audit your leadership capability

Do you view this new job as the next step in your leadership journey? 

Orient yourself quickly to the job’s needs by identifying the responsibilities you feel confident and well-prepared to handle. Next, explore any challenging areas and consider seeking guidance from a mentor or support from an executive coach to fast-track your learning.

Reflect on how best to present yourself and your capabilities to your new colleagues. Some incoming leaders create and share an engaging story about their background, values, and priorities, allowing others to get to know them immediately. However, others neglect this incredible opportunity to make a positive first impression.

Remember, when people first meet you, they are eager to learn about you and what it will be like to work with you. You can help them by establishing a warm, optimistic tone that promotes productive working relationships.

Top Tip: Reflect on your personal brand to find an authentic way to describe yourself.

3. Connect with your manager

How well do you know your new line manager?

To establish a strong relationship with your new line manager, you must build on the rapport you developed when you were selected for the role. Observe their actions, communication style, and decision-making process to adapt effectively to their leadership style.

You can expect to meet initially to discuss expectations, goals, and priorities. However, we have seen situations where this doesn’t happen because the manager is preoccupied with pressing business matters or travelling. Occasionally, a manager may have such confidence in the selected candidate that they expect them to get right into the job with minimal direction.

In such situations, finding a way to align with your manager is essential. Remember that your manager has critical goals to achieve, and knowing how to support them will help you succeed in your role.

Top Tip: Providing proactive support will help your line manager achieve critical business goals.

4. Assess the talent in your team

Does your team have the skills to support you? 

Knowing your new team’s abilities is crucial for effective leadership. Familiarise yourself with the current team before implementing any changes. These three steps will help you build a strong team:

  • Identify whether each team member has the required skills for their role.
  • Consider whether the roles are structured in a way that will help you deliver the right results.
  • Address any skill gaps as soon as possible.

Collective progress depends on recognising and leveraging each team member’s unique strengths. Consult your human resources partner to evaluate and improve individual capabilities if necessary.

A common regret among senior leaders reflecting on their first executive role is that they should have managed their team talent sooner. Developing a high-performing team requires thoughtful planning and investing time in professional development.

Top Tip: Act swiftly to assess and nurture talent to achieve results.  

5. Expect and plan for change

Are you an inspiring leader? 

Leaders who inspire others typically have a compelling vision for the future of their business. This means envisioning what’s possible and being able to communicate and drive change – simple to say but harder to do.

We are noticing that more newly appointed leaders than ever face business transformation initiatives that are already in progress when they assume their roles. Leading change and making decisions on restructuring in the early days of a new job can be incredibly challenging.

They have reported that polarity management is a valuable communication framework in these circumstances. This involves celebrating past successes, sharing all available options for future success with the team, and settling on the best way forward. Acknowledging the challenges ahead gives people time to process the implications and  prepare to adapt.

Top Tip: Embrace change constructively and demonstrate courage in driving it forward.

To learn more on best practice leadership transitions, read Mastering the Art of Successful Leadership Transitions’.

Continue Reading5 Crucial Tips For Success Before You Start Your New Leadership Role

Starting a new job? Adopt three important strategies for success.

Taking on a new job is exciting, especially if it is one that you have longed for.

Yet, the stakes are high! It is estimated that between 50 and 70 percent of newly hired or promoted executives fail to meet expectations in some way in the first 18 months in the role.

So, what causes highly motivated individuals to falter at senior levels? Perhaps, the strengths that made them successful in the past are no longer relevant and new skills are called for or they face unique challenges for which there are no obvious solutions or frame of reference.

Based on over ten years of experience in guiding leader onboarding, here are some strategies for success that we know make a huge difference.

1. Clarify the job that needs to be done

The first step toward establishing a clear agenda for your transition is to clarify precisely the job that needs to be done. Learn as much as you can, as fast as you can, about the business.

Start by thinking about the value chain of your business and your part in it. What are you bringing to the job from previous experience that will enable you to make a positive impact?

What do you need to know in order to act on the opportunities in front of you? Finding the right people and sources of information to fill gaps in your knowledge will help you fully understand the current realities of the business.

Pay attention to the enablers and restrainers of revenue and how value is created. Investigate prospects for growth and anything that may be holding the business back. A speedy assessment of available resources including people, budget, equipment, technology, will be the foundation for moving forward.

At the end of your first 30 days, meet with your boss to discuss your findings and realign on expectations and priorities. You may want to tweak the performance goals that were set when you arrived or discuss your resources given changes that you see need to be made.

Top tip! Use a journal to record your findings, reactions and ideas. By keeping all key information in one place, you will be able to reflect on what you’ve learned and how your thinking is evolving over the first few months in the job.

2. Meet and greet the people

You may have a full agenda arranged for you to meet key people in the business in your first week or two. If not, be proactive and reach out to connect with people. Take care to prepare yourself well. You know the saying, you only get one chance to make a good first impression!

First, you need a memorable self-introduction. People want to know about you – who you are, what you’ve done in the past and how you work. They are assessing whether you are going to be good to deal with. Remember, they have a new boss, colleague or associate, so they are in transition too.

Keep your initial introduction to three minutes, max. Then, turn your attention to them. Ask questions. Practice some good techniques for introducing yourself. Think about how you are going to create the impact you want.

If you are meeting a group of people in a more formal setting, you could create a short presentation, one or two PowerPoint slides to tell your story. Include some images, make it personal and tell an interesting story about yourself. Your staff will appreciate learning about you!

3. Identify your stakeholders and plan your approach

Along with business knowledge, you need to get to know your people and understand the formal and informal power structures and chains of command that exist inside the organisation. Draft a list of key stakeholders and highlight those who will have a significant influence on your success.

Organisations today can be a complex maze of people and practices. As you learn to navigate your way through them, it can be helpful to draw on established disciplines in the field of project management. In particular, the multiple facets of stakeholder management provide a useful framework for establishing productive working relationships.

Once you are underway with building your internal network, you can turn your attention to the external stakeholders who will be important to you. Depending on your situation, you may want to prioritise particular groups, customers, suppliers, government regulators, community groups, trade union officials, professional association members and others.

Last words

Think about the relationships you need to build in your new role. Pay close attention to the perspectives and interests of different individuals and groups. Are there any common themes among your stakeholders? What is this telling you?

Meeting the needs of multiple stakeholders is a balancing act. It needs a proactive approach to shape and influence their expectations and, above all, it needs a spirit of mutuality for the benefit of all. Go well and bring your best self to this new opportunity!

Continue ReadingStarting a new job? Adopt three important strategies for success.

Enhancing the Employee Value Proposition

How many new employees did you hire in the last 12 months?

What attracted them to join your organisation?

You may have listed the benefits of working with you on the career section of your website, but do you really know?

If you are finding it hard to source top talent and not securing the highly capable, motivated candidates you need, you may want to revisit your Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

A good place to start is by asking your most talented employees what they like most about working for you; and why they stay with the organisation. You could be surprised. The drivers that motivate your people may have changed, especially if the demographic of your workforce has shifted.

Next, capture the views of new employees in the onboarding process. Canvas their first impressions of what your organisation has to offer and revisit them in 12 months to see if the reality measures up to the promise of your EVP.

A strong EVP that delivers intrinsic satisfaction with the work experience drives employee engagement, leading to a healthy and happy workplace.



Continue ReadingEnhancing the Employee Value Proposition

Ensuring leaders succeed in transition to a new job

The early days in a job are challenging for most newly appointed leaders. Even if they feel well equipped for the new role, they have a lot to learn about their organisation and its people, culture and way of working. Many people feel they can intuitively do this. After all, they have been successful in previous roles.

At first, it’s easy to put effort into ‘what’ to do in the new job at the expense of ‘how’ to go about it. Early mistakes such as failing to understand the culture, clarify the expectations of stakeholders or misreading group dynamics can be hard to recover from later on.

In most large organisations, up to 25 per cent of managers take on a new position in any given year. That is a lot of people facing different responsibilities, learning new skills and coming to terms with fresh challenges!

What Research Tells Us

Research shows that up to 40 per cent of promoted leaders will fall short of expectations in the first eighteen months and the risk is even greater for newcomers to the organisation. When leaders fail, everyone suffers. Morale, productivity and revenue all take a hit. What we know is that:

  • Companies who invest time and resources in onboarding enjoy the highest levels of employee engagement.
  • Individuals who fail to adapt and develop as the surrounding context changes are at risk of derailment.
  • Unsuccessful leadership transitions have a negative impact on the credibility of the selection process.

The cost of turnover at the executive level can be 2 to 3 times annual remuneration. The cost is too great to leave successful transitions to chance.

Onboarding programs that consist of a company induction combined with individual coaching reduce the risk as they ensure that people get off to a good start and build momentum for longer-term success. Everyone Wins!

Continue ReadingEnsuring leaders succeed in transition to a new job