The Executive Difference

There is a distinct difference between being a manager, even a senior manager, and being an executive and Scott Eblin in his book The Next Level: What Insiders know About Executive Success takes us through these differences.

As Scott explains, some things that lead to the executive level need to go and other things need to be picked-up to be successful at this new level and beyond. He breaks these down into personal, team, and organizational aspects.

One main difference is that an executive can no longer do or even check all the work but has to rely on his team—and allow them—to do the work. It is the difference between relying on your functional expertise and your leadership expertise. It is also the difference between being responsible for getting the work done or accountable for ensuring it is done. A big difference which many struggle with. 

Another related difference is that instead of directing how your team does the work, you need to direct the what and trust that they will get to your desired outcome in their own way. This requires having the right people in the right roles, which Scott also discusses.

Scott interviewed many executives across industries and uses their quotes to "mentor" readers on how to make this transition. A great quote that he repeats a few times is that executives can't stay on the dance floor with their dance partner but need to get on the balcony to see the bigger picture and patterns. The executive can then return to the dance floor to execute on what he's seen.

Have you had to make this transition or worked with someone who has? What made them succeed or fail in this?

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