How to step up strategically
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How to step up strategically

Unbounded self-confidence, technical excellence and a strong operational prowess are characteristics that can help high potential employees rise to the echelons of the Senior Management Team.  From this vantage, Senior Managers have the opportunity to use their skills to leverage greater levels of influence and deliver a more immediate impact at a strategic level.  But, with such talent reaching the senior team why is it that Executive failure rates can rocket to as much as 75%?  It appears that the skills that have so loyally served Senior Managers in the past are betraying them at the next level.  So what is happening?

In some respects Senior Managers can be casualties of their own success. Their skills have been rubber stamped, verified and prestigiously rewarded.  It’s perhaps human nature for the Senior Manager to feel like they have ‘arrived',and at this juncture they may even start believing in their own grandiose. This degree of positive reinforcement has the power to habitualise behaviours which are effective in many well-trodden situations but may simply not work in new and unfamiliar territory. 

What’s more, the political environment and the power play in a Senior Management team will be far more complex and challenging than experienced elsewhere. The Senior Management Team offers a melting pot of accomplished politicians, Machiavellian characters, highly engaging networkers, traditionalists and visionaries - all of whom may also have a highly internalised belief that their way is the best way – they are where they are, after all.  Yet however advanced the Senior Manager’s technical skills, they are different to the skills needed to perform effectively at the next level.  Imagine for a moment, a professional footballer making it into the national squad only to discover that the squad is playing cricket!  Granted, this is an improbable scenario however in the business world it’s all too common for people to arrive in the C-Suite and discover that they are expected to play an entirely different game.  Rarely are employees with phenomenal technical abilities equipped with or taught the strategic skills they need to hold their own in the senior management team.

Herein lies an opportunity for the organisation to help their Senior Managers to hit the ground running in a way that leverages their existing skills and hones new skills that helps them deal with the complexities of their new role and the strategic challenges they face.

No (wo)man is an island.  Isolated, Senior Managers are more likely to suffer from overwhelm and poor relationships resulting in poor judgement and mistakes.  This can be costly for both the Senior Manager and the business. And, whilst the Senior Manager may have the companionship of a team, a peer group and a boss, they may actually experience their presence as a constant source of pressure that demands they prove why they deserve their position; to demonstrate that they are all-knowing.  Strategically, this is a disaster. 

To ensure Senior Managers are able to step up strategically at this critical moment, organisations can partner them with an Executive Coach.  A well placed, skilful Executive Coach can help Senior Managers to: re-evaluate and reset limiting or unhelpful beliefs, challenge derailing behaviours, reduce stress, examine strengths and weaknesses, help overcome obstacles and explore new and creative ways of thinking and doing.  Importantly, it’s a completely individualised interaction that addresses the exact needs of the Senior Manager, in a safe and neutral environment, at the point of need.

This chance to stop and objectively reflect, set goals and explore new discourses before establishing impactful and strategically aligned action plans can increase the clarity and purpose of the Senior Manager.  More ably prepared, Senior Managers can interact more effectively, engage and communicate more robustly, and be able to win the hearts and minds of their key stakeholders.   

Shaking off the misconception that it’s important to be ‘all-knowing’ is critical if the Senior Manager wants to continuously evolve and prosper in the C-Suite.  In fact, it’s their ability to question themselves, to learn and to adapt that will provide them with the agility to deal with the strategic demands of senior management.

What the Executive Coach does is carefully build high levels of trust and rapport that allows them to gently push and challenge the Senior Manager to reach greater levels of self-awareness that can massively impact their performance and chances of success.  Consequently, it’s possible to directly measure the outcomes of their changed behaviours in clear commercial terms.  This provides powerful reinforcement for a new set of habits to be developed that can serve the Senior Manager and the business more effectively.

Notion’s leading Executive Coaches combine their deep knowledge of behaviour change with their broad commercial experience to help Managers become even more successful in their senior management teams.

To find out how we can help your Senior Managers to step up strategically call us on 01926 889 885 or visit our website

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