As we described in a separate CNBC Guest Blog, there are “Five Things You Must Do Between Acceptance of a Job and Start Date.” One of those is identifying the most important stakeholders, and the competitive landscape and corporate culture they are operating within.
No one joins an organization in a vacuum. The organization’s history, recent business performance, and competitive environment make up the context. Together they determine how rapidly the organization must change going forward.
Culture is the compilation of how people behave and relate to each other, their attitudes and values, and the environment (or what I refer to as BRAVE) they create within the organization. The critical question a new leader must answer is, “How open is the culture to change?”
Crossing the urgency of change and openness to change provides the backdrop to a new leader’s message. When leaders like Intuit CEO Brad Smith get this right, things go well. When leaders like Time Inc. CEO Jack Griffin get it wrong, things are less pretty.
Build the Team with Early Wins
It’s not about the new leaders themselves. It’s about how new leaders inspire and enable their teams. Getting a head start on figuring out the context and culture is important. Getting the message right is important. Both help the team deliver early wins. And early wins are important because they give team members confidence in themselves and in their new leader.
When Apollo 13 had an explosion in space, a lot of things had to go right to get its three astronauts home safely. Even though failure was not an option, a lot of people were nervous. Fixing the carbon-monoxide problem so the astronauts didn’t run out of oxygen was the early win that made everyone stop and think “We’re good. We can make this work.” This gave team members the boost they needed to press on.
This is why it’s so valuable for new leaders to over-invest in early wins.
“The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan” takesthese ideas and pulls them together into a comprehensive, structured, and orderly approach that helps new leaders and their teams deliver better results faster and reduce their rate of failure. Getting done in 100 days what would normally take 6-12 months is a very good way to ensure you’ll be around for the next 100 days – and beyond.
George Bradt is managing director of PrimeGenesis, an executive onboarding consulting firm, and co-author of The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan. Follow him at @georgebradtor on YouTube.
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