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Industry Insights

How to dive head first into your new leadership role

By ,
Thomas Felbermair, Vice President of MINI Region Americas.
Thomas Felbermair, Vice President of MINI Region Americas.

There’s no question that adjusting to a new environment can be difficult. However, landing a top role at a company can also bring new thinking and an innovative perspective to a business needing a reboot or being disrupted by a new technology.

I was born in Germany, worked in Italy and have had the unique opportunity to take on leadership roles at different organizations. Just recently, I was named Vice President of MINI Region Americas in Woodcliff Lake.

Lucky for me, I had the chance to get to know my customers, fellow workers and other key target audiences when I joined a 4,000-mile biannual cross-country rally, MINI TAKES THE STATES. The trip enabled me to spend time listening to what’s right about the brand, what needs fixing and how I, personally, can make a difference.

But as I said earlier, I’m not new to being a new leader in a new organization (and not everyone will have that same opportunity to spend weeks on the road listening to what your key audiences have to say). So, here are some tips that will ensure success for anyone who’s just taken on a brand new leadership position:

  • Determine what works well, what’s broken and why.
  • Develop a plan for you and your management team to address the problems.
  • Assess your management team. Find out who agrees with your vision and who doesn’t. You will need a team that supports you to make the necessary changes.  
  • Stay focused on communicating all of the positives of the brand.
  • Set benchmarks for success in terms of fixing what’s broken. Give yourself 12 months and ask both internal and external audiences to rate how the broken piece(s) have or haven’t improved.

Succeeding in a top leadership position is one of the most challenging tasks in business. I’ve found the best thing to do is what we at MINI do every two years when we plan our MINI TAKES THE STATES experience. Create a road map. Stick to the points that I’ve listed above and be brutally honest with yourself. If you’re not seeing incremental success each and every month, stop and determine why.

Assuming that things do happen as you planned, you’ll be crossing the finish line under a checkered flag in the Indianapolis 500 of Corporate America.

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