Whether onboarding or transitioning to an executive role, this article covers everything you need to know about how to start a new executive job, hit the ground running, and how make an executive transition. 

This article is for you if you are:

  • transitioning or onboarding to a C-level role such as CEO, COO, CFO, CTO, CMO, CHRO, Executive Director, CXO, VP, EVP, Division Leader, or Business Unit Leader
  • transitioning from manager or director level to executive
  • transitioning to executive management

This image is an overview of how to onboard and transition into an executive role. This article will add more detail, tools, and commentary to these steps.

How to make an executive transition from prestart to 6 months.

1. Before you start a new executive job: What you need to do and know

Before day one, complete these executive onboarding steps. This precious time prior to your first day can make an important difference in how quickly you transition. Spending time preparing and reflecting for your first day will pay dividends. This is how you hit the ground running in your new executive role.

  1. Understand what transition is, what the various roles are, and why an onboarding program is needed
  2. Determine if there will be an onboarding program you will engage in or if you’ll need to create or find one like the Avenue to Executive Transition Success.  You may discover that you need to improve the executive onboarding program or process at your new organization or in your new role or that your new role does not have a formal onboarding process or plan.  Be proactive and set yourself up for success by filling in the pieces your company may miss.
  3. Hire a coach who guides executives through transition.  Learn more about why. 
  4. Become familiar with the causes and solutions of executive transition failure so that you are aware of what can derail executives in transition
  5. Cut off at the pass the most common mistakes made by executives during transitions including:
  6. Prepare for day one. Gather information that gives you critical background knowledge about the organization, your role, and your team prior to your start or very early on in your first week. Also, planning for how you want to show up day one helps ensure you make the impression you intend to.
  7. Determine your strengths and development opportunities in the role

2. How to make an executive transition: What to do taking on a new executive role

Whether you are a current executive or transitioning to executive management for the first time, here’s what a new executive or new to role executive should focus on within their first 6 months to successfully transition to their new role.

First 30 days in new executive role

  1. Gather the tools you’ll use during transition
  2. Clarify expectations with your hiring manager, board, and stakeholders
  3. Meet with stakeholders and build important relationships while gathering info, data, and facts to base your plans on
  4. Conduct early team building and integration activities with your new team of direct reports
  5. Determine what to focus on.  There are 4 main focus areas every executive should prioritize against.
  6. Send early communications to your organization
  7. Assess the culture, norms, politics, team, and organization
  8. Create your 90 day and early win plans
  9. Adapt your strengths and style to the needs or the role and culture

60 days into executive transition

  1. Begin creation of vision and change management plans
  2. Improve direct report team dynamics and performance

90 days into executive transition

  1. Create a 6-month plan and refine vision and change management plans
  2. Evaluate stakeholder relationships

6 months

  1. Get 360-degree feedback and define your development opportunities
  2. Finalize and communicate vision and change plans
  3. Assess direct report team progress

Contact us to learn more about each of these steps and tools to use to facilitate them in the Avenue to Executive Transition Success Program.

Learn more about executive transition and onboarding

Mistakes made in executive onboarding and transitions

8 steps to onboarding an executive

Best practices for supporting exec transition success

Avenue to Executive Transition Success Program

Executive onboarding and transition fundamentals: the what, why, and who of executive onboarding programs and coaching

Causes and solutions of executive transition failure

Executive onboarding and transition timeline, toolkit, plans, and templates

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