Congratulations on your promotion. Whether this is your first management role or executive position, you will want to post some big wins early in your tenure. Before you get started, take time to think about how you will prioritize and structure your time now that your role and scope of impact are expanded.
At the end of your first year in this role, the goal is for the CEO, executive team, and you to agree that your promotion was a winning decision. In order to ensure resounding success, here is a checklist you can use to boost your current executive skills or add to the toolkit.
- Define Success Metrics: What does success look like in the first 90 days, six months and one year? If you and your boss haven’t agreed on your top 3 – 4 objectives for each timeframe, draft a simple outline now. You may be tempted to just “jump in” because there is pressure to perform. This is a mistake, and one you may never recover from, because things tend to move rapidly at this level. If your boss is reluctant to define measurable objectives, start by assuring him that you are prepared for your objectives to evolve. In order to perform effectively, you must tie your major objectives to the financial goals and mission of the company.
- Understand Your Level of Authority: What budget decisions can you make before bringing a decision to your boss? What is your scope of authority in employee hiring, rewards, and discipline? When do you need to talk to your boss, board of directors, human resources, or others on the management team?
- Develop Executive Presence: Now that you are reporting directly to the CEO or other C-suite executive, your presentation skills count more than ever. How are your public speaking skills? How well do you match your communication style to your boss when she reviews your strategic proposals or status reports?
- Cultivate Strategic Thinking Skills: Learn to measure the return on investment (ROI) that your team delivers. What can’t be measured tends to be cut in leaner times, so learn your key performance measures now. Are you thinking big in setting strategy and goals for your team? Do you understand your company’s strengths and weaknesses? Do you have a firm grasp on opportunities and threats in your market?
- Learn to Lead Former Peers: Was there internal competition for your new position? Have you enjoyed a collegial relationship with peers? Either way, you will need to lead your team using different skills now. You may need to convert jealous or skeptical peers to supporters. Delegating may pose a new challenge, yet it needs to be a strength going forward.
Performing at this higher level of visibility and impact requires a new level of thinking and skills. Get the advice you need from a trusted mentor or executive coach outside of the environment so you don’t have to do all of your learning under a microscope. Finally, keep in mind that you were chosen for this role for a reason. Keep your strengths and goals firmly in mind to set up long-term success.
This article originally published October 10, 2014 in The Denver Post.