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Whether you are a newly appointed president, CEO or executive at any level, what you do during your first three months on the job will be pivotal to your long-term success or failure. This is a critical window of time to make a strong first impression, as well as:

  • Establish your leadership.
  • Build a reliable team.
  • Form relationships with key stakeholders and constituents.
  • Make a bottom-line impact.

Before You Start

Your top priorities in preparation for your new role are to learn as much as possible and to draft a plan for your first 90 days.

  • Complete a thorough assessment of your new company. Research all available information including financial statements, annual reports, media, market data, and competitor profiles and updates. Analyze internal documents such as board minutes and the organization’s strategic plan.
  • Meet with constituents. These include your board of directors or direct supervisor. Ask them about their ideas, suggestions and concerns.
  • Draft a 90-day agenda. This action plan outlines your key priorities and focuses your efforts on the most important items at hand. It is not a detailed strategy, but rather a “to-do” list that will be revised as you meet more people and gather more information.

Hit the Ground Running

It’s Day One – and it’s not too soon to start working on that agenda, establish some quick wins and get to know the immediate team that will help you make a positive impact.

  • Set up meetings with each team member. At these sessions, introduce yourself and ask questions to garner feedback and insight. Make sure that everyone agrees on key issues and priorities. Clearly articulate your management style, business objectives and team expectations. Model the behavior and actions you expect from everyone moving forward.
  • Take symbolic actions within 72 hours. Stakeholders will be on the lookout for immediate leadership signals, especially if your organization is in a state of crisis, flux or transition. Establish a cycle of increasing credibility and jumpstart your vision by outlining 30, 60 and 90-day breakthrough projects.

Lay Groundwork for a Successful Future

What you do during your first 30, 60 and 90 days on the job sets the tone for your long-term success. Here are a few more suggestions:

  • Contact your predecessor. Be a gracious new leader by understanding and respecting the legacy of those who came before you. If you can establish a meaningful relationship with your predecessor, they will prove to be an invaluable ally. Call them, thank them and ask them questions. Even if they didn’t leave on good terms – and in some cases, especially if they didn’t – they often have enormously valuable insights.
  • Experience your product in a meaningful way. Get out of your office and into the workplace. Do not criticize, interject or make changes – at least not on your first walk-through. Be there simply to take it in, to reflect and to consider where it meets your expectations and what ideas it inspires.
  • Find your mentors. You will need to regularly reflect and process, so you need a peer group outside your company so you can speak without judgment or the power dynamic inherent in a boss/employee relationship. Invest in your relationship with those who will support you as you acclimate to your new role. Build time for this reflection space just as you would for any other priority. The stronger you feel personally, the better you will lead.

Best of luck as you start your new executive role! If you feel you need additional support or guidance, contact one of the senior executive consultants at BrainWorks. We can help make your transition and future career growth as seamless, stress-free and successful as possible. Let us put our proven strategies and methods to work for you.


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