As the new leader, the first 90 days is your “get ready” period when employee fears are assuaged, your values are declared and the picture of the journey you intend to take the organization on is painted for everyone.
It’s a vital time for you to get traction.
Here are some waypoints to guide you.
Your office time should be no more than 25-30% of the time you have available. Employee expectations of you are high; they will have trepidations of how well you will fulfill your role. You have to be on stage; you need to make an appearance. You don’t have to be perfect and have it all figured out. Just show up; be forthright and honest.
Spend a disproportionate amount of time with the frontline.
They are the experts on customer service issues, product defects, broken brand promises and systems problems that prevent customers from being delighted with the organization. Their feedback should guide you in the priorities you set.
Hold as many employee communications sessions as you are able.
Make it a HUGE priority. Have a conversation about your leadership plan for the organization. Get feedback; listen and take notes. “Fingerprint” the values you hold sacred; leave no doubt in anyone’s mind who you are and what you stand for.
Go it alone.
This is 90 days in the trenches to reach your own conclusions, not conducting state visits. Leave your entourage with their biases at home. You can’t afford to have them around you. Empower people to tell you the way it is without existing management being an influencing factor.
Conduct your own informal audit on how your strategy is being executed.
Review the current strategic plan of the organization and conduct your own informal audit on how effectively it is being executed in the field. Where are the weaknesses? Where is performance lacking? Your leadership will be judged on how well you advance the strategic intent of the organization, so get data that will point you in the right direction.
Analyze how top line revenue is trending.
Revenue is a market indicator of how customers value your products and services. Revenue trends tell whether you are growing or declining in customer relevance. Take the analysis to a detailed level in order to have a firm understanding of opportunities and vulnerabilities.
At the end of the 90-day period, announce your intention to formally review the current strategic game plan of the organization.
Base your decision on the feedback you have received from employees and other performance diagnostics you uncovered. Make the review theme a response to what you’ve learned during the 90 days and employee feedback; the challenges THEY have expressed.
As the new leader you will never get your first 90 days back.
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