Moving From Being an IC (Individual Contributor) to a Manager or Leader? Here Is How To Do It Right

If this is you or you want to make a move like that, follow this process.

1/ Number 1 thing you must do is to create alignment. Draw a map of the organization and list everyone you work with/will have to work with, in the new role. It is the most important part of any leadership role. Also, understand what you need to do to be called a success in your role – this will help you define your (business) objective. The simplest way to do it is to schedule 1:1 time in your calendar with each key stakeholder in the first week itself. Ask open-ended questions and also how you can help them and ask for their help. During these 1:1s, get clarity on the budget, timelines, and important dates and what matters to the C-suite.

2/ Next, (re)define the strategy. Document everything you’ll do to achieve that objective. For example, if you are moving into the role of head of marketing you will need to define, what channels will you focus on (based on what has worked for the business in the past), what campaigns you will run on each and what assets (landing pages, designs, email, copy, etc) will you need for that. 

Attention/ AcquisitionConversionRetentionReferralsGrowth
Influencer Partnerships
Product/landing pages
Loyalty Programs
Customer referralsInfluencer PartnershipsContent Experiments

Keep some room to experiment. In your plan, list out everything you’ll need to achieve an outcome – people, money, process, assets, and timelines.

3/ Next make sure that you are tracking data and numbers on a day-to-day and week on week basis, making sure that your assumptions to generate leads/traffic are true when put to practice, and within the budget you assign. Build dashboards to track different metrics, so you won’t have to ask different team members or stakeholders this information every day. Use a platform like Geckoboard to get started with this and over time you can custom dashboards with Google Data Studio too.

4/ Communicate with the team. Let everyone know the goals and their responsibilities while knowing yours. Be open while respecting other people’s boundaries and respect their time as you’d like them to respect yours. Don’t wait on replying to emails. If you can’t provide a solution then and there, tell them you’ll get back to them. Get back when you said you’ll get back.

5/ Share results with key stakeholders (the CEO) or whoever you report to. Build a weekly or fortnightly cadence to share these results with the leadership even without asking.

6/ Also keep experimenting with different strategies and approaches. Continue with what’s working and drop what isn’t.

7/ Be your own mouthpiece and when there is a success because of your effort be confident in sharing that with leadership. And it goes without saying – own your mistakes and give credit where it is due.

And through this, all be kind to yourself and others and take care of yourself. I am sure you’ll come out with flying colors.

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