Are You The “Go-to Person”?

Last week, I joined Government Executive magazine editor, Tim Clark, and over 450 public sector leaders in a webinar I presented on “Tools for Next Level” leaders.  In addition to being able to connect with so many people at once, one of the things I like about webinars is the ability to conduct instant polls.  We took a couple of insta-polls in the Tools session that I found really interesting.

In framing up the challenges of moving from one level to the next, I asked the group to answer the question, “Do you think of yourself as or do others call you “the go-to person?”  Over 93 percent of the government executives self-identified as “go-to people!” (See screen shot below.) Based on other presentations I’ve done over the past year with audiences of high potential leaders, that result, while dramatic, is not that surprising.  The people who end up in leadership roles have a history of being “go-to people.”  You might even say that it’s their “go-to” leadership move.

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The upside of that?  Throughout their careers, they've gotten things done.  The downside?  As they move to higher levels, the results expectations are so broad and so different that many of the “go-to person” behaviors that worked so well in the past will no longer work at the next level.  The result?  A whole lot of newly promoted executives don’t live up to expectations.

Later this month, The Eblin Group will be publishing a white paper that looks at this topic in depth and draws on over 300 multi-rater surveys on next level leadership behaviors that we’ve conducted for high potential leaders over the past three years.  The results are pretty fascinating.  Stay tuned for more.  In the meantime, if you want to listen to the Tools for Next Level Leaders webinar, you can watch and hear the archived copy by going to this page on the Government Executive website.  Anyone can listen; you don’t have to be a government executive.  Let me know what you think.

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