I would like to talk to you about my latest book Your First 100 Days, Powerful First Steps on the Path to Greatness. The book provides a critical path for succeeding in almost any new leadership role. A note of caution: The closer you get to the top, the more complex leadership transitions become and the right answers are often not enough. I suggest discussing these success strategies with a leadership transition coach who can help you move beyond answers and come to the moment of true insight about your situation.
First 100 Days Critical Path—Ten Critical Success Strategies
1. Prepare for the journey before you start. What are your leadership strengths, weaknesses against the challenges and opportunities of the situation? How will you need to transform given the challenges, opportunities in front of you? Study up on the company.
2. Get clear on your going in mandate with your boss. Have these five conversations: 1) boss’s goals & priorities conversation, 2) expectations conversations, 3) resource conversation, 4) style conversation, 5) leadership development conversation.
3. Have a story for ready for day one; Seal your leadership in the first 72 hours. Your maiden speech and early decisions can have a big impact as key stakeholders look for important signals immediately. Get to know everybody through a blizzard of early meetings.
4. Do your due diligence iteratively. Create a learning agenda that is focused. What is the business situation? What is a strategy that will match? What does the political chessboard look like (likely supporters, opposers)? How do I need to scope my job, goals, and priorities given the situation?
5. Think “Three Waves of Change.” Accomplish these three things to succeed in your first 100 days. Secure early wins to build personal credibility and momentum. Attack ‘A’ level priorities which will create a foundation for long term success. Establish an Impossible Future and strategy of disruption that will inspire people to come to work in the morning.
6. Create a 100 day plan. 1st 30 days: Do the obvious, 2nd 30 days: Attack ‘A’ level priorities. Strategy, structure, systems, 3rd 30 days: Go for early wins.
7. Get buy in (build a powerful coalition). Involve your boss and colleagues in your 100 day plan. Present your goals and priorities so as to show how you will accomplish your mandate and help them be successful. Get buy in with a counter intuitive strategy of inviting attacks to comment, and then provide them a common sense response.
8. Start building a team of ‘A’ players. Evaluate the leadership team. How many ‘A’s, ‘B’s, ‘C’s? Decide whether to coach, redeploy, or release. Build on people’s strengths vs. try to change weaknesses. Create an open team dialogue where you discuss the undiscussable.
9. Create a Challenge Driven Organization. It is pivotal to give your organization a focus (most have too many). Start with breaking your vision, goals, and priorities into specific challenges. Make some powerful requests to your team: 1) Provide “choiceful” strategies—where to play and where to exit; 2) Each business unit presents 1 to 3 game changer products in three months; 3) Each department makes a 15% cost reduction in 45 days.
10. Find a first 100 day coach. You are going to need help on your first 100 days.
Find out more on how to make your first 100 days successful.