Reaching an executive management position

N°283a – Synopsis (8p.) – Job Transition
Reaching an executive management position
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Becoming a senior executive does not only involve taking on extended responsibilities: the conditions of success are often different from what we expected. How can you best prepare for these new demands?

At first sight, taking on an executive role seems to be part of a continuous successful career progression: having proven yourself at the different levels of the hierarchy, this is an additional step to make. You see the field of your responsibilities broadened, relying on the base of acquired competences. In reality, the change is dramatic. Failing to have anticipated it, many expose themselves to disappointment.

The first disappointment resides in the glass ceiling faced by many aspiring leaders. Indeed, despite a successful career evolution and acknowledged competences, many experience the frustrating situation of not being perceived as eligible to join the executive committee. And for a very good reason—obtaining exceptional results in your own perimeter is not sufficient. You must also have been identified as having the potential to carry forward the overall performance of the organization. Do your achievements have an impact and added value beyond your function? Is this visible at the highest level of the organization? Making sure of it is indispensable to take the leap.

The second risk of disappointment happens shortly after the nomination. Nearly 40% of new executives encounter serious difficulties in the 18 months following their appointment! This is not only due to an increased level of demand, but also to new demands, which have too often been poorly anticipated. For example, new leaders suddenly become the focal object of attention for many observers, who scrutinize and interpret their every word and move: what was previously quite insignificant in their behavior can then have unexpected and undesired consequences! They must also manage relationships with a vast diversity of counterparts, both internal and external, who all have great expectations from them. And where many issues were previously addressed with the direct line manager, executive managers must now interact with a collective, such as the executive committee or the board of directors. The exponential rise in the resulting number of demands can easily surprise and make some lose sight of their priorities.   

Becoming an executive leader thus implies a true transformation of your role. How can you best prepare for it?

In this synopsis:
– Work on your visibility to obtain an executive position
– Successfully manage your new executive position
– Set up a productive relationship with your board of directors

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