Preparing for a New Executive Role

by Maura Byrne, Managing Partner at Smart Coach

Now that you may be considering a job move, or maybe you’ve already accepted an offer. Whatever your stage, here’s a checklist to help you on the road to success.

1. Prepare Yourself with Independent External Support
Engage a Transition Coach to support you in being successful in the new job. An independent advisor will not only ‘have your back’ but will help you gain pin-point clarity to take balanced action with your personal and professional goals. With the help of psychometric testing, you can clearly establish your strengths, what your key motivators are and what values you share with your new employer.

2. Buy a Journal
For note taking, reflections, observations and creative ideas or doodles about yourself and the new environment.

3. Prepare Yourself Internally
YOU are the most important aspect of the new job and preparing yourself internally is vital. Managing your energy and engaging in self-care comes first. The four intertwined pillars of energy are: Physical, Emotional, Mental & Spiritual

Physical Energy
Physical Energy Management includes rituals like eating regular nutritious meals, cutting back on junk food and alcohol, drinking enough water, getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night, exercising at least 2-3 times a week, balancing bursts of physical energy with times of recovery. Physical exercise also positively impacts on emotional and mental energy.

Emotional Energy
To perform at your optimum in any new role, you must access positive emotions like experiencing enjoyment, challenge, adventure and opportunity. Strengthening our emotional energy involves using muscles like patience, empathy and confidence. Your family and friends bolster your emotional energy. The responsibilities of the new job need to fit in with your family commitments and your family life. Don’t ignore these responsibilities and pretend you can fit them in regardless. Chat with your family and agree on your weekly commitments and if additional supports need to be put in place for balance to prevail, organize these. Talk to your boss early about any timetable conflicts. Meditation, yoga and mindfulness are excellent tools for balancing emotional and mental energy too.

Mental Energy
Too often, we place a premium on using our mental energy to propel and sustain us in our new job. Relying on mental energy alone eventually brings us out of balance leading to burnout. Our mental energy does help us to organize our lives, focus our attention and set priorities in the new job. Visualization, written plans, positive self-talk, time management and creativity are all wonderful mental supports.

Spiritual Energy
When you connect to a deeply held set of values to a purpose beyond your own self-interest, you are engaging your spiritual energy muscles. The human spirit is capable of overcoming the greatest physical and emotional challenges because of the strength of our spiritual energy. It underpins our whole energy structure. Find your spiritual core and soar!

4. Establish Your Mandate In the New Job
You would think this is the most straightforward part but sometimes the mandate changes from the interview stage to the start date. Ask Yourself: what does this new job require of me? What are the priorities?
Regularly, ask your boss to clarify your mandate. Once you know what’s expected of you every week, month quarter, life becomes easier.

5. Listen, Listen, Listen to Learn, Learn, Learn
When you’re onboarding, you’ll learn loads at your induction sessions. The learning curve of understanding the people and systems will be huge. Learning and Listening incorporate huge amounts of emotional and mental energy. If you’re moving to a new industry, start by learning about the external environment the company operates in and find out about the Industry, products and services, competitors and regulations & compliance.

Next, your learning will incorporate the internal company set up: Vision, culture, values, strategy, products, departments, operations, your boss, your team, your peers, your customers, your partners, your suppliers, other stakeholders, sponsors, associates. Attend one-on-ones, executive meetings, your team meetings, workshops, brain storming sessions, in-company social events – anything that helps you build a complete picture.

6. Establish The Life Stage of the Company
What life stage is the company at? Is it start-up, turnaround, accelerated growth, re-alignment or sustaining growth. The strategy must match the stage.

7. Map an Influence Network and Establish Key Alliances
Where does the influence lie? Often, it is not with the obvious people. Are there blocking forces? Can you neutralize these?

8. Identify Early Wins
Find out where you can add value quickly in your new job. Is it using your competencies, market knowledge, contacts, experience, personality or all of the above? Much of your job will involve leading and empowering people on your team to succeed. Be a thinking partner for every member of your team to get full engagement. Discover areas that are important to your new boss and stakeholders and demonstrate your value.

9. Set out a 30, 60 and 90- day plan
As the jig-saw becomes clearer, set out your plans. A strong transition coach can assist with this detailed planning. Remember, it’s always better to under-promise and over-achieve!

10. Celebrate Success
It will motivate you, your boss, your team. It also lets the universe know that you are grateful for your success.

About the author
Maura Byrne is managing partner of Your Business Smart Coach, an Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Company. She helps companies who want to develop their talented executives for roles in senior management and on executive boards. One of the best people development initiatives is Mentor Training Programmes which she can set up in companies providing mentor and mentee training and supervision. She also helps companies introduce coaching cultures for better employee engagement. She trains leadership skills through one-on-one coaching, workshops and talks.

She is particularly strong on developing women for leadership roles. She is founder of HERizon – an online forum for female leadership and is an active member of the National Women’s Council of Ireland. She has been a member of the Countess Markievicz Circle and activates for Women for Election.
Maura has worked on career transitions and leadership development with senior executives in RTE, Morgan McKinley, Glanbia, Arysta and Standard Life.
Contact: maura@yourbusinesssmartcoach.net www.yourbusinesssmartcoach.net
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