3 months into a Director of Marketing & PR role for a company in an industry that is new to me - should I be up to speed already?

Hi Elpha community,

This is the first time I am in a Director role ... and the first time I am underperforming at a job. I am under tremendous pressure to deliver, and I am not sure why it's been difficult for me to get up to speed and plan out a strategy for my marketing and communications plans.

I don't come from the industry (environmental/carbon markets and sustainable development) so a lot of the experience I have from the past is different from what the CEO's expectations are of me to deliver.

I can't seem to pin-point how I can do better while I am still learning the business. I feel like I don't have enough information to write specific plans and execute on them because:

1. There are so many internal stakeholders I need to communicate with so I can put some tangible content together (case studies, thought leadership, media pitches etc)

2. There are so many external stakeholders (clients) I need to communicate with to ask if they will collaborate with us on marketing/comms efforts. I am still learning at what stages in our business those clients are in

3. I manage a marketing manager who preceded me and I don't have a line of sight into his work. He's also very busy with various projects that I haven't been involved in

4. My CEO is amazing, but I don't know how best to work with her....she intimidates me in our meetings because sometimes I don't have answers for her and. I can see that it is disappointing her

5. I haven't done a lot of the processes they have in place before (OKR reporting)

6. I have immediate deliverables that make it difficult for me to also build a strategy around all the marketing efforts and build the company into a brand

Any advice if you have felt that you are underqualified for a job you already have? Or is 3 months still not enough time to be where I need to be, and I should stick it out.

Stress management tips are welcome too!

meganduero's profile thumbnail
I come at this from the PR agency side so, while I don't have direct experience in your role, I work with a LOT of people who are in your shoes. In short, 3 months is absolutely not enough time to be up to speed. Even if you knew the industry, I've found it generally takes at least 6 months - for me, and for those that I've hired and supervised - to find solid footing in a new position.It sounds like you have a really solid handle on what exactly you need to be more effective in your role, and that you may need to take the initiative to move some of those things forward - arrange meetings with stakeholders, ask them what their brand and marketing expectations are, etc. And definitely set up time 1-1 with the marketing manager to see what he had in place before you joined.As far as working with your CEO, I'd suggest a casual conversation with her - over lunch or coffee, something like that - where you can outline your concerns and explain your plans to improve. I'd also ask her: 1. How does she judge success?, 2. What's the best way to work with her?, and 3. What's her management style? It could give you some insight into how she really thinks you're performing, and how you could potentially alter things - including more managing up - to meet expectations.Hope that helps!
emilybond's profile thumbnail
Hi there,I echo Megan. 90 days is usually not enough time to get fully up to speed, although it is also around the time that you are expected to show some results.I also imagine that the stress of thinking you’re underperforming is not making things easier for you.I would consider drafting your next 90 day plan and sharing it with your CEO. Include a self-assessment of your first 90 and what you’ve learned. Find a way to arrive at a common view of what success looks like, what support you’ll need and how she can help you accelerate.If she’s invested in your success, she should be willing to work with you on this. If she’s not, we’ll maybe it’s not the best environment for you to learn and grow in.Happy to connect if you’d like to talk this throughEmily