Business Category | Technology
We were brought on to help a newly promoted senior executive at a large technology company step into his role while the company was in the process of a turn-around.
“Mike” was charged with leading a department of 100 people with annual sales of $400 million. His key objective was to increase the effectiveness and upgrade the talent of his department. Challenges included a rapidly changing organization, a culture that tolerated mediocre performance, a frenetic culture and a highly competitive industry.
This also was the biggest management role that “Mike” had taken in his career to date. Although the opportunity was exciting, he knew he had to learn how to influence his many stakeholders, clarify priorities and begin to operate at a more strategic level, leaving the work he was most comfortable with to his team.
We began with a 360°Assessment, which uncovered two areas of focus:
Communication | “Mike” had to sharpen his communication skills so that he could motivate his team and influence stakeholders in spite of extreme turbulence. His attempts to persuade others by asserting his view was being met with resistance at a time when he needed buy-in.
Priorities | “Mike” needed to delegate to his team more effectively and manage his time differently so that he could focus on strategic initiatives.
“Mike” met with a Next Step Partners Executive Coach bi-weekly over a period of nine months. Under the guidance of his coach, he articulated a set of core strategic priorities and learned how to communicate them in a way that both inspired his team and helped him sign on new talent. We worked with him to develop stronger listening and coaching skills. Rather than simply asserting ideas, he learned how to engage others in a conversation where they develop their own understanding of the merit of a given approach and why it could be good for them.
We also worked with “Mike” to learn how to delegate and prioritize more effectively. He came to the realization that while he enjoyed getting his hands dirty in the day-to-day, he was hired to do higher level work and needed to make time to advance strategic initiatives. With a shift in mindset about his own value, he and his coach found ways to reduce meetings and carve out structured time for the strategic thinking that the executive team was seeking from him.
With sharpened communication skills, “Mike” accomplished important breakthroughs both in attracting new talent and maximizing the effectiveness of existing talent. He also improved his ability to influence among a complex array of stakeholders. By the end of our engagement, he was participating increasingly in settings with the executive team.
By prioritizing and delegating more effectively, he was able to push strategic initiatives forward and positively effect on the bottom line of the organization.
“Mike” credits coaching with accelerating his on-boarding process. The combination of confidential support and focused attention on the areas that most needed improvement helped him get where he needed to be rapidly, in spite of a steep learning curve and a moving target.
Note: to protect the confidentiality and privacy of our clients, we have altered some identifying details in this case study.