Executive onboarding helps accelerate the productivity of a new
executive, and provides a new, unique, and challenging role for
executive development practitioners.
Without question, the most significant difference in working at the
executive level is that everything is about executing the strategy
and achieving business results. The executive development strategy
must enhance individual capabilities and address the top priorities
for the business. This includes global expansion, hiring and
developing talent, advancing competition, defining new markets,
legal and ethical challenges, sustainability, protecting the brand,
and so forth.
The following chart underscores the key distinctions when
developing executives, as compared to employees and management.
| || Employee and Management Development || |
| Objectives ||
Develop skills and competencies to improve job performance
Increase business performance
| Target Audience ||
Typically segmented vertically by business unit, department, or job
Segmented horizontally across the organization by job level
| Design ||
Design curricula and classes for specific job groups or skill areas
Design to support company's strategy, goals, culture, and drive
| Delivery Methods ||
Open enrollment workshops, e-learning, virtual classroom, project
Experiences that integrate development with real work (action
learning, coaching, strategic business simulations, and custom
| Strategy and Plans ||
Managed by learning and development department and/or Human
Driven by CEO and executive management team
| Budget ||
| Reporting Structure ||
Often reports into executive management team business unit head.
Strategies for success
There are several actions you can take as part of your personal
Know the business. Learn all you can about your
organization, the structure, strategy, culture, processes, metrics,
and business plans, as well as the industry, competitors, and
customers. Listen to earnings calls and read the annual report. The
credibility and success of executive development hinges on how
tightly aligned it is to business goals. Remember, executives are
much more interested in talking about the business than they are
about development. You are in a prime position to help them
understand how the two are linked.
Get to know your target audience. Clarify who to
focus on, their roles and responsibilities, and where they are
located. Most importantly, get to know what's on the minds of your
executives by spending time with them, formally and informally.
Get focused. The needs are vast, and the
opportunities to contribute are enticing. As with any new role,
it's essential to clarify expectations and outline a plan for what
you will deliver.
Stay current on strategic business issues and
trends. Read popular business journals. As you get to know
your executives, inquire as to what books and journals they read,
and add those to your reading list.
Learn who's who. Get to know the experts. They can
become part of your professional network and help you build
knowledge and expertise.
Build new relationships. Collaborate with others,
including executive, HR, OD, and learning and development staff, as
well functions such as communications, business development, and
Find an executive mentor. Consider an experienced
executive who can provide keen insight and invaluable knowledge
about life at the executive level.
There is much to learn and much to accomplish, and fortunately,
many people are willing to assist. You can use what you already
know and rely on past experiences to some extent. The key to
success here is to keep asking, what else do I need to learn?