Executive Presence : Assessment, Coaching, Training

Closing the Mindset Gap to Step into the Executive Leadership Role

Challenge
An MBA from an ivy league by education, Mohit has quickly risen through the ranks to his new position as a SVP of a global technology firm. Along the way, he had been rewarded for revamping the business and realizing explosive growth. However, his challenge was that he was smart, driven, and had a bias toward action: He got things done without delay and he made important decisions with agility. But his reporting manager knew that as Mohit becomes more senior, some of these qualities can work against him. The manager wanted to help Mohit adapt his leadership style for the next executive level role, which required a firm-wide perspective, focus on developing key people, and have the ability to draw from the collective wisdom of the firm.

The sponsor manager had a 3 point agenda- a coach who could develop a trusted partnership with the senior leader and offer him  practical, concrete strategies that helps the leader let go of his action-bias mindset,, grow his people, and enhance his ability to influence global stakeholders. And during this process, the sponsor wanted the leader to achieve measurable results and sustainable change — not only for himself, but also for his team and entire organization.

Solution

Diagnosis: During the insights sessions with the stakeholders, it came to light that the leader wanted quick results and was rewarded for action, not team building or the development of others. HR also shared how there were also few team member complaints against him.This had led to a view by some that he was isolated, if not a bit arrogant, in making quick decisions and dominating critical discussions. While he was perceived as able to successfully manage the business, not all were as confident in his leadership of the people. We also administered Coach Vikram’s EPI™ to take a robust appraisal of his ability to influence across the organization. His EPI report reflected his strengths and gaps and he received lower marks in the characteristics of Good Intentions, Kindness, and Uplift.

Mindset Shift: Although the leader was excellent in executing his business, taking on a bigger role often creates a different dynamic. Being an “executive” requires a new mindset and reframing of your role. His assertive and often pushy style would be self-limiting in the next executive leadership role. To ensure the long-term success of the organization, it was critical for the leader to display more discretion and patience towards his team. The first 3 coaching sessions focused on the leader letting go at the mental level his obsessive focus on developing the business dynamics at the cost of building his leadership and influence skills. This allowed him more free time and headspace to introspect about his sense of compassion towards his team. The EPI coaching report stated how his compassion and good intentions were low and that he wasn’t exercising real inclusiveness and interactivity. And this in turn, was calling his integrity into question. His “light bulb” moment was when he realized that trait of his was undermining his leadership. With this realization, we focused on how he could use his free mindspace to build the capabilities of his ace team.

Behavioural Shift: Our coaching program focused on how the leader can be seen as a strategic leader who delivers great insights rather than being seen as a more transactional order taker or service provider. To curb his action bias so that he leads at the firm level and realize the execution of strategy through his team we developed a 6 months learning game plan with 3 point strategic and tactical objectives to help him influence across teams: 1. Showing more restraint in meetings by encouraging others to express their views, 2. Seeing the best in people and motivating them with positive reinforcement to live up to their best selves, 3. Making the leader useful in whatever way is needed to support what the team member needs. 

Result
Mohit transformed from adapting methodical, analytical styles to broader, more strategic roles. He demonstrates a balance between execution and business strategy with greater engagement from his staff. The key stakeholders within the firm have realized that the leader is now clearly in transition to take over the business and is more comfortable embracing the full leadership role as a partner of the firm. And yes, he is a big proponent of offering random acts of kindness to his team.

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