If you are a senior manager who hasn't been promoted for 2+ years, you may be stuck at the executive chasm.
Whoa, wait, what?
The executive chasm is the deep divide between what it takes to obtain a management position and an executive role.
Let me explain. While we assume every level in our career is just a small step up from the previous one, that growth is linear, that’s not the case with executive roles.
When you are moving from sr. management roles into executive roles you are not moving into the next level, you are starting a whole new game.
The rules change, the players change, and the only way to win is to learn the new rules.
Why are you stuck?
Despite what anyone else says, you can break through to executive roles. You can cross the chasm and win the new game.
So why are you still stuck? Because you don’t know the new rules. You understand there's a gap, but every time you ask your manager what to do next, you get vague answers. Every time you apply for a promotion you’re told you are not ready yet.
You can see the gap, but have no idea how to close it.
3 Steps to cross the executive chasm
Here’s the good news! The skills required to win the new game are 100% learnable.
You don’t need innate talent or a fancy degree to become a director or VP. Anyone, including you, can develop these skills and cross the executive chasm. You have the potential inside of you, you just need to unlock your inner executive.
This is how it’s done:
Step #1: Remove fake limitations and build confidence
Crossing the executive chasm starts with how you think, not how you act. You must be able to see yourself in the role for others to see you there too. While you could work your way into previous roles, putting in more hours won’t close the gap.
Leveling up into executive roles requires an identity shift. You need to let go of the person you used to be, to become the next version of yourself.
Think about it. Why is it that companies choose to recruit someone new rather than promote from within? Because they think they need a different person. But what would happen if there was someone, internally, who thinks and acts like an executive? Would they recruit or promote? Probably promote (it costs less!).
You have to BECOME that person to make yourself the obvious choice.
But this change is hard. Painful even. Your brain will make up a lot of BS to stop you from stepping outside of your comfort zone.
New skill: learn to manage your own mindset and turn your thoughts into an asset that drives you forward, not a liability that holds you back.
Understand that confidence is a skill, and learn to build your confidence muscle from within to make it a superpower. I have full guides on removing fake limitations, developing confidence even as an introvert and overcoming imposter syndrome.
Step #2: Develop a vision and point of view
Very often managers live in the gray. Try to make everyone happy, keep the status quo, and avoid making big meaningful decisions.
Executives have an opinion. They can’t afford to be in the middle all the time. They have a responsibility to drive change, improve and grow. All of the above require a vision for the future, and the ability to set course their teams will follow.
If you have never thought in terms of vision and strategy it’s time to develop a perspective. Take a stand and advocate for what you believe in.
New skill: Learn to forecast and create a compelling vision of the future. Understand how to package and sell this vision to your team and stakeholders, to align on what success looks like. You’ll need to become an expert at storytelling, and level up your communication skills. That’s how you will create your personal brand and develop your authority.
Step #3: Build a strong following
Effective executives become mini influencers. Celebrities inside of their organizations.
They know it takes a village to drive real change and see meaningful results, so they nurture a loyal following that supports their goals. From employees to other executives, they have a network of raving fans.
Their teams often produce outstanding results, cross functional leaders move mountains for them, and the leadership team respects their opinions.
New skill: learn to influence without authority and form strategic alliances to generate unwavering advocacy.
It starts right now
Unleashing your executive potential is a combination of WHAT you need to do and WHO you need to become.
The executive chasm will be there whether you are ready or not, so the best time to start leveling up is now.
Understand the new rules, learn the new skills and set yourself up for an easy transition. That’s how you unleash your executive potential and step into Director and VP roles.
I believe in you and I’m rooting for you.