A “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.

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.

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.

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.