John’s Story (Mid-fifties executive; took VP position and struggled with new demands, new team, and new company)
John recently accepted a new position in a new company. At 56, the position was really attractive: it had a vice-president level title, significant responsibility, and the pay was great. Plus, he would have four weeks of vacation each year. The original job description contained many responsibilities that John had done in previous jobs, and during the interview process John felt confident that he would be successful.
Within two months of moving into his new role, John knew something was wrong. He did not seem to be getting the results desired for his unit, his team was not coming together, and others in the organization were expressing disappointment with his and his team’s performance. In short, a lot was going wrong.
After a heart-to-heart conversation with his boss, John realized that he had assumed his experience and skill set was adequate for this new role. He came to realize, however, that he needed to develop many more advanced leadership skills for this new demanding role. He also needed to learn the culture of his new company and the styles of the people that worked there.
With the help of his boss, he began his personal leadership development along with that of his staff. John had never worked harder in his life to navigate this transition. He wanted to re-position himself as a reliable executive for his unit. He worked with his team to set a vision and strategic plan, he laid out monthly implementation priorities, he monitored results to ensure his team was reaching set goals, he made adjustments as needed to achieve the desired outcomes for the company, and he helped his team with their skill gaps.
Slowly, the team started achieving results, but there were still some lingering doubts from others in the organization. While John was excited about the progress, he knew he needed to keep developing both his skills and his teams and to continue getting positive results to earn the trust of his boss and other executives.