This month we are talking through the very real stages of “promotion vs. preparation” in our executive careers and why understanding and acting on each of these components is critical if we want to create a high-performance executive brand.  Last week we dove into the concept of “promotion.”  Today is all about acts of preparation.

Why must we prepare to exec correctly?

The short answer is, being an executive requires leadership skills, actions, attitudes, and mindsets that we haven’t learned or applied up to this point in our careers.  Executive leadership is very different than middle management leadership.

Now I know you want to say that you have mad skills and those skills are going to help you succeed. Let me put it to you this way.  If you are a triathlete, you must be able to swim, bike, and run, right?  In your career, you learned how to swim exceptionally well.  Learning to swim got you promoted into the executive ranks.  However, in the executive ranks, you must bike.  Swimming got you to the biking phase of the race, but you can’t use the same techniques to complete the cycling portion of the race.  You’ll lose.  You must use new tools and different muscles.

In general, managers are doers.  Yes, they can lead small groups of people, but they are focused on short-term plans, short-term results, and pushing the team to generate those quick wins.

Most commonly, we get promoted because we did our current job exceptionally well.  We researched, we created execution plans, we executed, we followed up, and we kept raising the bar.  It didn’t matter the project, the size of the team, or the business focus, these were the steps that when done properly and consistently, lead to promotions time and time again.

Now notice I didn’t say: emotional intelligence training, mastering influence, strategic planning, visionary leadership, executive presence, or personal leadership.

In my career, none of those pieces of training were expected or prioritized in my development and I didn’t even know to ask for most of them because they weren’t needed in the management roles.

So if you only have 10 hours in a day to do your current job well and get results, realize that to actually do that it takes 15 hours in a day. You are already trying to get more done than you have time for.  Where would you squeeze in these developmental actions?

You would sacrifice even more of your personal time if you felt certain they were needed.  But who is telling you that you need those skills?  Who is encouraging you to learn them? Who is providing you with the training?

If the answer is no one, then we can easily see why promotion overtakes preparation in our careers.

However, we can also see why preparation is critical and why it must be prioritized.  We don’t want to spend 10 years of our lives developing our careers and then fail in the one role we were dreaming of having.

No.  We must succeed.  It’s what we do. Which means we must prepare.

To do that, you must find resources to help you with your growth.  You must learn proven strategies, constantly improve what you’re doing, and you must have someone to support you and guide you along the way.

Check out The Executive Way as a solution to this gap.

Grab the workbook to answer some questions on how to create your executive brand.

If you want to learn more about The Executive Way program and how we can better support you, please send an email to and we will book a call with you!

Be Legendary!