Welcome to another Ask Katrina. The question today is:
“Katrina. Why does it take so long for a new executive to generate consistent, executive-level results in their new role?”
There are three reasons why I believe it takes between six and 18 months for a new executive to build enough momentum and consistency in their personal execution to deliver consistent results.
These reasons are tied to one of the basic fundamental teachings we have here at Legend Leaders; the 4 Ps.
The first P is promotion. It takes women on average 10 years to reach the executive ranks. During that period of time, we are promoted, obviously. but they are small promotions; micro-shifts in our professional development and in our responsibilities.
Those shifts are super manageable, which means it’s so easy to make those shifts and get results, maintain our competence, and keep pushing forward without delay.
This is not the case when we go to that next executive-level promotion, from a mid-level manager to an executive. The shift in this transition is significant.
It’s one of the largest shifts that we’ve seen in those 10 years, actually the largest.
When we realize the shift is larger than we expected and that we haven’t adequately prepared for that shift, we beat ourselves up, we start doubting ourselves, and we start having that imposter syndrome creep in a lot more than we ever have.
We tell ourselves that we’ve missed something, or we should have been prepared to be an executive. We are feeling the lack of preparation.
Those negative thoughts and those conversations that were having within us cause us to focus on all the things that were not, instead of allowing us to focus on the things that we need to go be and do.
They are internal distractions.
Everyone experiences this internal dialogue of pain and doubt. The level someone experiences it and how long they experience it are the variables in this process.
So know that the first reason it takes 12 months for a new exec to start delivering consistent results is: internal distraction.
The second reason is because of the second P in the 4 Ps, which is preparation.
We didn’t prepare ourselves to be an executive.
We don’t know how to exec correctly, so we’re not prepared to immediately start getting executive-level results. (We also call this “perform,” which is the third P in the 4 Ps.)
This means we must prepare while on the job, and preparation takes time.
So get this, we are trying to learn how to do the role, while also needing to get results.
It’s a constant up and down.
The internal dialogue going through this process sounds something like, “Oh, did that work? No, that didn’t. How do I do this? Let me apply this to something new.”
And there’s this constant evolution that has to happen as we are figuring out how to be an executive. It’s very difficult to learn how to prepare and perform and get performance results at the same time.
Ideally, and the best case scenario is it doesn’t take you six to 18 months to learn how to do it consistently, you learn in just a few months, and then you spend the rest of that time getting the results.
You essentially segment the two phases instead of preparing and performing throughout that entire period of time.
Because know this, the delay in delivering consistent results isn’t because you can’t or you are incapable of doing so.
The delay is because you are having to prepare (learn to exec) and perform (get results) at the same time. You have competing demands.
The third reason for the 12-month delay is the simple fact that we tend to think that the performance expected of us is much more complex and larger than it actually is.
We’re so focused on our fear or doubt and that learning curve that we inject other actions, other functions, other busy work, and other things that we think will add value to the company that we get water down our actual performance results.
Know this, the “extras” we think will add value to the company actually don’t add value at all.
We’re doing them to keep ourselves mentally secure, not secure in our job, but mentally secure.
It’s just another distraction.
We have the internal self-doubt distraction, we have the distraction of trying to figure out how to perform (i.e., preparation), and then we actually have to perform but we’re injecting extra work that doesn’t need to be done and that’s a distraction.
If we can just eliminate those three pieces, we can eliminate that 6-18 month runway.
We can swap the suffering and the struggle with success.
Not only that, we can actually earn our first-year bonus.
The way that we do that is we simply eliminate the guesswork, we eliminate the trial and error.
Because when we learn, and we focus on the preparation side of being an executive, we start to build that confidence again.
The truth of the matter is it should only take 2 months, max, to “prepare” to exec correctly. Anything longer than that is honestly unnecessary.
So when we start working on eliminating that guesswork, we kill reasons 1 and 2 right away. The self-doubt goes away because you see yourself learning to exec through your preparation.
What comes next? Results!
You start performing!
When you perform, you allow yourself to breathe again. You are that much more able to “prepare” or learn how to be an executive because you’re not in a place of fear.
You’re not bringing in those distractions, you’re not doing things that are not valuable to the organization, you’re focused only on doing what is valuable.
So really, the reason why there is a 12-month lag in most first-year execs’ performance results, is due to the 3 barriers we just discussed.
The key is to eliminate them quickly so you can have executive success.
If you’re facing those barriers, or if you simply don’t want to deal with those barriers as you step into your executive role, let us help. The program that we have here is called The Executive Way and we would love to tell you more about it.
Don’t suffer. Don’t take a year to figure it out. Go be the executive you’re meant to be!
Schedule a call with the Legend Leaders team to learn more about getting results in 2 months instead of 12! Schedule your call here: https://bit.ly/3QajdxI