Transitioning from Manager to Executive 2021


Veteran, new and aspiring executives need methods to be successful in their organization. There are 1000s of leadership podcasts, videos, blogs, and articles but few authors address what to do or how to do it.

We have witnessed many executives who are efficient (doing things right), but few executives are effective (doing the right things). We believe this is misguided and aim to remedy the shortfall with executives.

This is the 57th episode of the Effective Executive podcast. In this episode, Tripp Babbitt shares his approach to helping make managers to executives. Download our Effective Executive Starter Kit.

Show Notes

The Effective Executive – Episode 57

Moving from Manager to Executive

Two Skills for the Transition

Having a Method is Important

Build Your Team with Shared Vision

How to Make Good Decisions – Always


[00:00:01] This is the 57th episode of the effective executive podcast and YouTube channel. And this week I wanted to talk about transitioning from a manager to an executive and a typical manager is someone who’s doing work and managing people. And so it’s it’s a big step, usually in organizations small or large, because there’s a whole, you know, the expectations are different and people don’t necessarily have the skills to move into those things from being a manager to being an executive.


[00:00:49] So, you know, my work focuses on helping aspiring new and veteran executives, and maybe this would fall a little bit into each of the categories, but probably to the new executive. But if you’re aspiring or you’re a veteran executive, you’ll you’ll pick up some things from this particular episode. Um, so the first thing is, is the expectation in most organizations, the executives is going to be setting direction, being very strategic about the things that they do and not just managing people but developing them in organizations, or at least they should be. And often this is miss because the panic ensues, often in organizations when they haven’t developed the heir apparent for the position that’s being vacated. Whether it’s an executive that’s moving from, you know, being maybe a senior vice president to the president of an organization. There’s this. Too often there’s this panic that ensues in organizations about, OK, who’s going to take that position and do we hire from the outside, hire from the inside, know all those types of things.


[00:02:09] But regardless of whether you hire internally or externally, I think there’s two things in particular that will help in transitioning from a manager to an executive. And that and these two things are one developing a system map. And I’ll get into that in just a second. And the second thing is decision making. So the system map, some of you who listen to me regularly know I talk about a system app. It’s something I’ve used over the years. It’s gone through many iterations and how I’ve developed it from organizations that I’ve worked with and from just things that I’ve learned that enhance developing a system map. But the system map is helps develop your synthetic thinking skills, your ability to see the whole of an organization. And when you’re a manager, maybe you’re the head of the project managers or the head of a group of technicians or whatever it might be. You don’t see the whole. In other words, you’re not, you know, unless you have to you go into finance or I.T. or one of the other areas. Usually when you have a problem, but you don’t purposefully see how the whole organization operates, and there is no better way to develop people and get everyone on the same page in developing a shared aim, then developing a system map. It’s an exercise that you can do step by step.


[00:03:53] There’s there’s many things out on the internet. I have my own system. As I just mentioned, it’s gone through many iterations. Therefore, I think it’s improved over the years. Especially, I’m going to say, over the last five years, I’ve added quite a few things to it, but it’s in essence it’s looking through a customer lens at your organization, in other words, looking and everybody’s looking at their organizations from where they sit. It’s very difficult to get agreement because everybody has their own opinion. But when people are developing or looking through a customer lens, they have to take themselves out of their particular role and put themselves in the place of a customer. And this develops your skill and your ability to see the whole because the customer doesn’t care that you know there’s different departments and things of that sort or what what they care about is getting their problem solved or auditing their product or service or learning about it or whatever it is and developing or looking through that customer lens helps develop that. And I think the second component of that developing the system app is doing something like what I call looking through the thinking lens, which is how does your organization think about control and how they motivate people? And there’s a whole list of things that I’ve developed over the years. So the customer lens and the thinking lens will help you develop the system map gets you a picture and it gets everybody.


[00:05:32] If you’re working on it with maybe your direct reports or people you know from within your organization, it’s something that you’ll get a really good view of what’s happening. And it’s going to get everybody on the same, excuse me, the same page. And what it ensures that you do is that you’re working on the right things and not just doing things right. You want to make sure that you’re doing things that are impactful, that are going to affect the customer. Because when you improve the lives of customers, whether it’s a product or service, this feeds in to. The financials and the revenue and the results, types of measures that executives typically have to pay attention to. So that’s the first thing that I recommend is if you’re going to transition from the manager to executive, do something that helps develop your synthetic thinking skills and working with people from within your organization to do that and take yourself out of the department or the role that you have and look through that customer lens and then understand more about how the organization set up by how you think through through a thinking lens.


[00:06:49] The second thing is decision making, you know? Everybody’s expectation executives going to make 100 percent of the time make good decisions never happens. It’s just not possible. So what you need to be able to do is even if you, I hope you make all good decisions.


[00:07:12] Now, if you make a bad one. Then how do you make that bad, one bad decision become a good decision? Well, you don’t abandon it. All decisions need to be viewed as in-process and not final. Therefore, you can track how the decision that you made. Played itself out and do adjustments need to be made, do you need to abandon that decision because you learned something that was unexpected and unintended consequences is certainly something I talk about quite a bit in the effective executive. So those are a couple of things that I think that if you’re transitioning from a manager to an executive, if you take these to heart and you apply them as you’re transitioning, you’re going to get everybody on board. By developing the system app, you’re going to develop your your synthetic thinking skills. You know, you’re going to ensure that you’re working on the right things. And even if you aren’t going to the decision making component, if we make good, we can make good decisions by seeing the whole of a system, by developing those synthetic thinking skills. And if even if we make a bad one, we can make adjustments because we’re constantly monitoring what’s going on with a decision that you make. That’s what I wanted to cover this week, and you have a good week. I’ll talk to you next week.


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