A senior level executive was hired by a Fortune 500 firm to add her in-depth knowledge of industry trends and needed technology acumen to the executive team. Not only did this executive wish to onboard smoothly, she was considered a strong prospect to succeed the firm’s CEO, who would part in a couple of years.
Meanwhile, the firm was experiencing stalled growth and insular business divisions. The role of the leader came with a mandate to challenge strategy and the organizational status quo.
The leader struggled to effectively build a platform for her role and vision with her executive peers, including the fact that she misread the organizational culture and some of her communication habits instilled doubt in her ability to make tough calls.
Multiple stakeholder interviews and an in-depth leadership 360-assessment helped to establish an honest snapshot of how her peers and boss were viewing her. In the past, too little feedback too late and the coachee’s defensiveness, had stood in the way of understanding the full scope and urgency of the requests others had of her.
With her coach, the leader reflected upon stakeholder needs and how this new organizational culture differed from past employers. Equipped with a realistic picture of what stakeholders want – complemented with concrete feedback about unwanted or confusing behaviors, the leader could identify useful changes some communication and decision-making habits. The 360 results also suggested that the leader was more reactive than creative.
Our coaching helped the leader take on more active roles in supporting others’ career growth, clarifying and consistently communicating her leadership vision, and initiating and sponsoring an internal strategy assessment process that aligned divisions and supported coherence in the execution of strategic priorities. Her leadership, initially seen as predominantly reactive, was considered more creative and proactive by others.
She also worked pro-actively, in response to the 360 and coaching work, to change communication patterns that shifted the perceptions that others had about her decisiveness and her ability to form personal connections.