Transitioning to executive leadership requires a mindset shift more than a skill set change. It’s something I learned the hard way a couple of years ago as I stepped into my first executive role unprepared for what was ahead of me. But it doesn’t have to be that way for the next generation of accounting and finance professionals. They can get guidance from the book The Leadership Accelerator: The Playbook for Transitioning into Your New Executive Role by Ajit Kambil, who honed his experience leading Deloitte Transition Labs, helping thousands of C-suite clients create a 180-day to one-year work plan.




The author did a fantastic job providing a framework to deal with common roadblocks that leaders may face during their first year in an executive leadership role. Each chapter ends with suggested “workouts” that provide readers with an actionable step-by-step guide for addressing key challenges during their transition. It’s a must-read for first-time managers and executives.


Here are 10 lessons for aspiring and first-time finance managers, executives, and other leaders:

  1.  Embrace change, as executive leaders are expected to drive significant transformations and growth, not maintain the status quo.
  2.  Manage your schedule and energy intentionally, aiming for a workweek of 50 to 60 hours maximum to maintain productivity and avoid burnout.
  3.  Recognize that effective communication strategies are as crucial as the tasks and projects themselves.
  4.  Identify and seize opportunities while also assessing underlying risks.
  5.  Set a realistic timeline, typically from six months to one year, to become fully acclimated to your new role and make a meaningful impact.
  6.  Focus on a maximum of five priorities at a time to maintain clarity and effectiveness in executing your leadership responsibilities.
  7.  Be intentional and strategic about cultivating relationships because people are at the core of your success.
  8.  Develop essential soft skills such as organization, strategic thinking, decisiveness, negotiation, and emotional intelligence.
  9.  Remember to leave a legacy by supporting the development of the next generation of leaders through mentorship.
  10. Cultivate resilience to navigate unexpected challenges and disruptions that may arise during your transition.

The Leadership Accelerator offers a comprehensive and practical resource for those seeking to make a successful transition into a management or executive leadership position. By emphasizing the importance of maintaining a positive mindset despite challenges and providing actionable strategies for effective management, Kambil’s book equips readers with the tools they need to navigate the complexities of executive leadership and thrive in their new role.

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