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Submitted by RichRuh on


I was promoted last week ([url][/url]

Does anyone have any advice for a successful transition?

The major new challenges that I see in my new role are as follows:
1. Working with a new boss (the company president :D )
2. Shifting my focus from tactics to strategy (although the job title change isn't official yet, I'm a vice president now :D )
3. Finding someone (or [i]someones[/i]) to do my old job.

I've done some homework already, so I'm looking for things [i]not [/i]on this list of excellent suggestions:

1. "Fit in"-- I've been a member of the team that I'm now leading for 8 years.

2. The Manager Tools trinity (O3s, feedback, coaching)-- The reason I was promoted in the first place. :) Extending and continuing these practices is a "no-brainer."

3. Read [u]The First 90 Days[/u] by Michael Watkins. Finished an hour ago. :)

Thanks for any additional advice you can offer!


jhack's picture


Think beyond your transition (which I'm sure you'll manage splendidly!)...

Drucker says we each need to figure out how we can contribute - what is the unique strength that we can apply?

Look at your role from the president's perspective: what can you contribute that is really needed? Once you figure it out, focus on that contribution.

Running through a SWOT analysis (more or less depending on circumstances) should help you identify what you might contribute.

and...extend your network.


PS: you didn't mention delegation, but I'm sure you know that, too....

tlhausmann's picture
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2. Shifting my focus from tactics to strategy (although the job title change isn't official yet, I'm a vice president now :D )


My first thought is that horizontal relationships with the other VPs is vital. Building those relationships is imperative for when transformational IT projects need to get done. Transformational projects will have broad impact on how people in other departments perform essential functions of the company--and it will be hard and stressful for everyone. The highest stakeholders of the company must be involved in such projects.

I'm certain M&M have more advice...but the above paragraph is my first thought.

My second thought is to "think broadly"--know your industry benchmarks cold. Since you earned a promotion you already understand how IT undergirds much of your company's operation.

lalam's picture


A recent article in CIO Magazine entitled “Relationships: CIOs Are People Who Need People” ( has good advice on building relationships that applies not only to CIOs but to anyone in a new role.

US41's picture

You have new peers. Find out all about them, become their friend, and fit in with them. Your old peers are now your reports - your relationship will necessarily change, and things you said last year to them might this year be harder on their ears coming from "The Boss."

Be very mindful of your new position. Caplow says that the manager with the absolute worst situation is the one who takes over a team he was previously a member of following on the heels of a rock star. If your predecessor was good at all, you'll have extra hurdles to jump due to you having to manage the transition from peer to boss. That can be very challenging.

I would be watchful for passive-aggressive behaviors designed to send a message to you that you are not really the boss. Intercept and feedback such behaviors in real time, and don't tolerate it. Any one of your previous peers unable to make the transition with you due to jealousy or resentment needs to be chased with O3 notes thoroughly and lots of feedback, because you might find your team with a bad apple six months from now, and you don't want to start a process then - you want to finish it.

But that's all "just in case." Surely they will be professionals and everything will work out just fine without any conflict. ;-)

I agree with the suggestion to find out how you can contribute. Find out about your boss's special relationships, your boss's objectives, and work on aligning what your team does with your boss's goals so that you contribute directly.

dhkramer's picture

The internal customer relations podcasts seem perfect for your position.

Lots of networking with peers and differentiating yourself from old peers inherent in the process.

And, if (when) you realize that this was a horrible mistake and you are completely over your head, don't tell anybody. Just keep acting as if you were qualified. That's what everybody else is doing.


RichRuh's picture
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Thanks for everyone's very useful suggestions.

I've spent most of the weekend planning out the next few weeks, including building a plan for my first meeting with my new boss, and going through my task lists, being ruthless about what can be delegated.

The next few weeks and months will be interesting- that is for sure!

Thanks again,


sholden's picture
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With regards to:

"2. Shifting my focus from tactics to strategy"

I think you are on the right path to work on ruthless delegation. Because from my perspective the only way I've found to be strategic in my focus is to make blocks of time available to do so. And you can't make blocks of time if you always at the tactical level.

And "3. Finding someone (or someones) to do my old job". My suggestion is keep building the network, and start looking both internally and externally. The last two hires I made for key positions was because I was building and maintaining the network. It is a lot of work, but it pays off when you need it.

Again ... congrats on the new position. You'll do great. - Steve

LouFlorence's picture
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Congratulations on the new role!

Sorry I did not reply here sooner. I would reinforce one thing already said and add another.

1. Don't just delegate pieces of your previous position, name someone to it, even if interim, and let them run with it. It's a great opportunity to test out a likely successor or at least offer one of your staff a good development opportunity. Don't let the fact that they are all busy deter you. That's your successor's first challenge!

2. Deliberately shift your focus from within your organization to the outside. It sounds like this promotion is a transition from manager to executive. There are many overlapping bits between those two roles, but I keep M&M's definition of executive in mind; one who looks primarily outside the organization. (Apologies Mark if I goofed that up.)

Congrats again. A big score for the MT Class of '07!