Building relationships within an organization is important at any level, but it takes on a deeper level of criticality when discussing an executive level. The benefit of starting in a new position is that many people expect an executive to reach out to start building those relationships. It also presents an excellent opportunity to continue to understand and pressure-test key priorities from multiple perspectives. This focuses on identifying a strategic group to interview and synthesizing key takeaways from those conversations.
Identify the right set of internal clients and peers to initiate a conversation
Part of an executive’s first task when beginning a new role is understanding the landscape of the people around them. There are many different subsets of colleagues that an executive should be looking for, including:
- Internal Clients – People who are affected by and will have an opinion on the work that an executive’s team does. For example, an IT executive might consider their Internal Clients to be the different Business Line leaders who help prioritize key initiatives for IT to focus on based on their individual business needs and the overall needs of the organization.
- Peers – Other colleagues with similar reporting structures, levels of responsibility, or team sizes who may be able to serve as a sounding board during an executive’s tenure.
- Stakeholders – People that an executive will report to, either formally or informally, to discuss progress in the role, make any resource requests, and raise risks or accomplishments for review.
- Coaches – Individuals who are well-known and liked among the organization, and who will speak out (loudly) on an executive’s behalf. This can be related to opportunities to pursue, concerns that have not been met, or simply helping to build a brand reputation among internal and external sources. These individuals can also serve as sounding boards for personal growth and development outside of the organization if the personal relationship grows to be strong enough.