Becoming a top executive: a change in perspective

N°163a – Synopsis (8p.) – Leader's Positioning
Becoming a top executive: a change in perspective
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When taking on a top management position, executives must realize that they need to change their mindset accordingly.

Nearly half of all new executives fail in the first eighteen months after taking on a top management role, according to a number of studies. Is this due to casting errors? Not necessarily. The reason is rather that newly minted senior executives and those around them tend to underestimate the changes required to succeed at the very top. Most executives interviewed after several years at the helm admit that they were completely unprepared for what – in retrospect – turned out to be a profound professional and personal challenge.

Reaching the pinnacle of an organization is certainly a turning point in any manager’s career. After the initial rush of pride in the accomplishment has subsided, however, frustration tends to build. The tried-and-true principles established over the course of a well-managed career no longer seem to apply. To become successful at the top, managers must rethink their attitudes and mindset, learning to decipher the implicit dimensions of the job.

– As they become the focus of attention in their new role, newly appointed senior executives must take their “celebrity” into account when analyzing situations and their own behavior.

– As official members of the management team, top managers must go beyond the natural confines of the expert to develop their circle of influence.

– New senior executives must clarify their added value and adapt their operating practices in light of the changed relationship with their team.

– New senior executives must not underestimate the personal changes that this role will demand. Identifying someone in whom they can confide can be of great help.

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