10 Things Leaders Better Be Doing in Their First 100 days

10 Things Leaders Better Be Doing in Their First 100 days

leading in your first 100 days

Gone are the days of a short honeymoon period in the new role in the current global economy, making an impact early on in a new leadership role is more important than ever. Putting it bluntly your performance in your first 100 days can be the difference between success and failure in your new role. So here are our suggested 10 leadership action steps.

 Action Step 1: Detach Yourself from your own role

Get your head in the right place and detach yourself from your old role and organisation and focus fully on the new one.as quickly as possible. This can be a real challenge for internal candidates particularly of their old role has not yet been filled.  The minimum here is to negotiate a deadline for letting go and gain agreement of expectations in the interim.  

Action Step 2: Acquire Key Strategic Knowledge

You must invest early in building new networks and forging strong and effective stakeholder relationships. Get to know your bosses, your bosses’ boss, your subordinates and your peers, both in your own and in other departments. The objective here is to obtain more detailed knowledge of the company’s business, culture in the most efficient manner while also building a network of key contacts throughout the organization.  Start to identify ad map your key stakeholder relationships and find out what is important to them and start making friends.

Action Step 3: Clarify Roles and Expectations

This consists of 2 things. Hopefully you started your due diligence before you took the job. If you were not able to do that then now is the time to check the current reality against all you have picked up during the interview and selection process. Are things as bad as or worse than communicated? How in touch is the CEO with what is happening on the ground?  The second thing is to clarify how you and your new Boss will best work together, frequency and content of catch ups, preferences and pet hates etc…

Action Step 4: Understand the Business

Start walking about and asking questions, get on the front line and see what they have to put up with. Use this to build relationships with your stakeholders. Ask great dumb questions like “Why do we do this this way?”  Talk to customers and other key stakeholders.  Do not repeat do not allow yourself to get bogged down in administration and paperwork. This is a time for visibility and asking lots of questions. Start to note possible quick wins for later.

Action Step 5: Acquire Expertise on Division Subject Matter

Get up to speed on the technical aspects of the role. Find the technocrats that hold the institutional knowledge and get along side of them. Identify any critical professional development and prioritise it for the short term.

Action Step 6: Accelerate Integration into the Organisation Division

Hold sessions with senior staff of your Division get them to map out the landscape and explain current decisions and programmes. Runs sessions and complete SWOT and or PEST analyses. Start to get a feel for your team’s engagement and capabilities. Allocate further analysis and thinking tasks to your direct reports. Start to build potential work programme and prioritise any critical performance shortfalls and get someone on mitigation right away. Start your engagement and communication strategy with your division and the wider business.

Action Step 7: Develop a Vision and Prioritise Strategy

Get a diverse stakeholder groups together and work with the thinking on the current state. Conduct visioning exercises in order to secure engagement to the new vision. Make sure the team starts to identify the potential change implications for them as a team and individually. Refine the vision and start to socialise it in the organisation and refine it further. Assess how change able the team/function might be and what might be required. Use the new vision to help prioritise work programme and plan for the next 2 years.

Action Step 8: Orchestrate Quick Wins

Get a team together to clarify and qualify any quick win benefit realisation.  Secure resources for identified projects and get teams working and reporting.

Action Step 9: Assess the Capabilities of your business area and teams

Review existing structure and organisation is it fit for purpose?  Start to identify key talent Performance acceleration is not possible unless you have the right people in the right roles. Get clear on the skills required to deliver future strategy and conduct a capability review.

At the same time critically assess your team and figure out who the key decision-makers, influencers and potential blockers are. It may be necessary to recruit fresh talent and energy, or simply to restructure the team.  Develop a performance capability improvement plan and start implementation   

Action Step 10: Set Performance Targets

Once the strategy is clear you will need to foster alignment and focus using key strategic measures. This means developing report cards that address overall Division performance and individual business unit expectations.  In practice it is probably easiest to develop draft measures and then seek feedback and ideas.

Getting early impact is balancing act; you need to avoid the common pitfalls of reacting either too soon or too late. You also need to understand the culture values and pressures people have been operating with and being able to empathise with that as a leader. Most importantly you need to start to build trust because without trusting relationships you will have little influence as a leader.

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