An Executive “Roadmap” To Support New-to-Role-Leader Success

By Cynthia Short

New executives need a partner to take an opportunity from vision to reality

A clear path to growth for new-to-role leaders

Read more about Strategy & Roadmapping by Lexico

Roadmapping Helps Companies Realize Exponential Value from New Executives

Bringing a new leader into a company can be an exciting yet challenging time. In fact 50 to 70% of executives fail within their first 18 months of being hired or promoted. While talent and experience may equip the new executive for such transitions, expectations for creating immediate value are often not achieved due to operational demands, learning curves and gaps in his or her supporting team that can dilute business impact. This situation is often not a matter of their skills of aptitude, but rather a logistical challenge of the pull of competing priorities.

Drinking from the Fire Hose

When a new executive starts, their attention is pulled in an overwhelming number of directions. The leader has to build relationships with peers, customers and suppliers. If they are new to the company, they will have to learn the business – financials, capabilities and limitations. Their team is clamoring for the executive’s vision, strategy and associated objectives to guide them. And finally, there’s the day-to-day business of meetings, emails, putting out fires and so forth.

Unfortunately, given everything on their already overflowing plates, these new executives don’t have time to act on initiatives that truly bring value to an organization, that are transformative to the organization. And without that strategic planning and quick action, their job will be in jeopardy. So, it is more important than ever to provide that strategic plan for your new-to-role leaders.

What does a successful executive roadmap look like for new leadership hires?

A successful executive roadmap for new leadership hires should provide a clear plan for the new executive to understand the organization’s vision, strategy, culture, and goals. Here are some key elements of a successful executive roadmap:

  • Vision and strategy: The roadmap should clearly articulate the organization’s vision, mission, and strategic objectives. This will help the new executive to understand the organization’s direction and priorities.
  • Organizational structure and culture: The roadmap should provide an overview of the organization’s structure, culture, and values. This will help the new executive to understand the organization’s internal dynamics and how decisions are made.
  • Key stakeholders: The roadmap should identify the key stakeholders that the new executive will need to engage with, such as employees, customers, partners, and investors. This will help the new executive to build relationships and establish trust with these stakeholders.
  • Performance expectations: The roadmap should provide clear performance expectations for the new executive, such as goals and targets that they are expected to achieve. This will help the new executive to understand what success looks like and how they will be evaluated.
  • Resources and support: The roadmap should outline the resources and support that the new executive will have access to, such as budgets, staff, and technology. This will help the new executive to understand the tools and resources available to them to achieve their goals.
  • Onboarding and training: The roadmap should include a comprehensive onboarding and training plan to help the new executive to quickly integrate into the organization and understand the key issues and challenges that they will be facing.
  • Timeline: The roadmap should provide a clear timeline for the new executive to achieve their goals and objectives. This will help the new executive to prioritize their activities and allocate their time and resources effectively.

How to Set Up A New Leader For Success

Provide A Partner in Action

First, new executives can assess their situation to determine key actions for resolution of these challenges. One proven strategy is to seek out outside counsel to help, one with deep expertise in facilitation, strategy and planning to accelerate the development of an actionable strategic roadmap that helps determine the actions, steps and resources needed to take an opportunity from vision to reality. The partner can help develop cross-functional roadmaps, which integrate and enable a company’s strategy & KPIs in order to maintain forward movement on new investments. Working with a skilled partner, new executives are able to uncover both the details of the business and nuances of their team, and then align both with the broader business strategy and vision.

Develop a Roadmap to Turn the Challenge into Opportunity

It is key for the new executive to start the roadmapping work as soon as possible. We’ve seen time and again that complimenting onboarding with roadmapping increases the value and outputs of those critical initiatives that new executives must address. And, in turn, it allows the company to realize more immediate and sustainable value to their business and to their investment in the new leader.

Through this process, the new executive and their team consider why they need to take action, what they need to do, how they do it, and by when. Roadmapping brings together expertise from the organization to look at a chosen topic and participants work together to build a visual map toward their desired future. Decisions are made through a highly collaborative process, encouraging commitment from participants as well as an understanding of their role in the bigger picture.

Roadmapping is an art and science, requiring the experience and nuance that only a skilled advisor can bring. And it is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Roadmapping efforts are tailored to the chosen topic, the organization and the industry. And even more importantly, the work needs to be tailored to the new executives who are working under extraordinary circumstances. A strategic roadmapping engagement typically involves the following areas of work:

  • Measurement/Baselining – to examine spend, organization, projects, operations, strategy, and plans;
  • Direction Development – to partner with leadership and define new or enhanced direction and strategy;
  • Facilitation – to help develop actionable steps to realize the new plan, including financial, human capital resource, timing, KPI and capability impact.

Why Is a Development Plan & Roadmap Important?

Skilled advisors and practitioners who have been in the shoes of their new leader client, as well as have a fresh, objective perspective, can bring extensive experience in working with new executives. By leveraging a partner’s roadmapping skills and strategic experience to help realize the new executive’s vision, companies can realize exponential value from their new executives. And, by setting strategy and defining an execution roadmap as a first priority, off-strategy investments and projects can be avoided while strategic leadership is accelerated.

If you’re seeking a partner who can help you realize maximum impact from your new-to-role executive, contact Lexico.