Your First 100 Days In A New Leadership Position
Start Right Now™
Your organization has spent a considerable amount of
time, money and effort selecting you for your new leadership position.
You’re smart, experienced and have an outstanding track record. It’s a
good start, but not enough to guarantee success.
Somewhere between 40% - 50% of executives who
are new hires fail, or don't meet expectations within the first year on
the job. A This is because joining a new company, or sometimes
even a new division within the same company, means navigating a series
of highly complex transitions. Yet most leaders get an orientation that
barely scratches the surface of what’s essential to meet the high expectations
that await their arrival. As one leader said, “I feel like I’m racing
through a maze, along side people who all have maps and GPS’s to guide
them. Worse, they’re communicating in a language that I don’t understand
This doesn’t have to be a case of “sink or
swim”. There are specific things you can do to take charge of your
acclimation, dramatically increasing your chances of success. Immediately
upon accepting a new job, you have three big goals to achieve in a relatively
short period of time. You must:
Gracefully Exit Your Current Position:
- Gracefully Exit Your Current Position
- Take Charge Of Your Entry Into The New Job
- Establish Your Credibility By Executing A 100-Day
These days, few people leave a job with a successor
in place who is prepared to take over. Frequently, a successor hasn’t even
Take Charge Of Your Entry Into The New Job:
- Identify immediately what needs to be completed before
you leave your current position. Ask those who will be most impacted,
to prioritize the top 3 things they need from you before you depart.
- Negotiate an agreement with your manager, outlining
what you can reasonably accomplish in your remaining time.
- How will things be handled when questions arise after
you leave your current position? What, if any help can you offer, while
starting a demanding new position? Be realistic. Your commitment is
now to your new job. Recommend a transition plan and distribute it.
This is especially critical if you are taking a new position within
the same organization.
Utilize your talents, but add to your toolbox.
Under the stress and excitement of a new job, it’s easy to rely on your
strengths—and over use them. To avoid this trap:
Execute A 100-Day Success Plan:
- Gather ideas from people inside and outside your new
organization about the critical skills, perspectives and abilities needed
to succeed in your new position.
- Find the ones that are different from those that have
served you well in previous jobs. Focus on developing these new skills
helps you avoid the trap of doing what you do best, regardless of what
the situation requires.
- Assessment tools can be a powerful aid in the process
of gaining a new perspective and uncovering blind spots. Grab the opportunity
to get a new perspective on your skills and experience in order to uncover
any blind spots. Always a good idea, this is especially timely when
you’re starting a new job. It’s easier to make some changes and try
some new behaviors when you’re not working within a firmly established
you start the new job, these three strategies will serve you well:
- Establish Strong Support
- Accelerate Your Learning Curve
- Maintain Your Focus
These strategies have multiple parts. Let’s look at a
few of them that will help you establish credibility and produce results
Establish Strong Support
Accelerate Your Learning Curve
- Build a close working relationship with your
new manager. Discuss what role your manager and other people
in and outside of the organization will play to help you quickly get
- Get your team aligned with and supportive
of your objectives and your management style. Develop a two-way
communication path and ask them to help you with a crash course about
the team and the organization. They have a rich storehouse of history,
skills, ideas and connections to offer you---if they are motivated to
- Establish a “safe haven” -- a person or people
with whom you can talk candidly. Where will you go when you
don’t have all the answers? You must feel secure asking questions and
testing ideas with someone you can trust as you learn your new job.
Many have successfully found this vital resource in a coach or a mentor.
Maintain Your Focus
- Identify a learning plan for your first 3
months on the job that covers these points:
- What information must you master in your first month on the job?
What are the top 10 questions you need to have answered immediately?
How will you get the information? Who will assist you?
- What’s the most efficient way for you to sort through a sea of
product information, customer names, company financials, market
data, acronyms and policies?
- How is this organization’s culture different from what you’re
- Learn the “influence pathways” within your
organization. Start building a network of people who can help
you build the relationships and get the information you’ll need to get
- At a minimum this includes the leaders both inside and outside
of the organization who can make or break your success.
- Find out how you can help them succeed, and vice versa.
- Get clear about your immediate priorities.
Establish clear expectations. Be sure you and your manager agree: What
does success look like in the first 3 months?
- How will the various individuals and groups you rely
on measure your success?
- Ask about the potential pitfalls
that come with the job so you can develop pathways around them.
Moving into a new leadership position is complex, and
each situation is unique. By building important alliances early, and keeping
your attention on the right things, you will cut months off of your transition
time, and establish the reputation of a successful leader.