One of the most difficult situations that a leader can be placed into is the new company, new role, and new organization. How you begin your new path is certainly one of the most important aspects of your team’s perception, willingness to change, eagerness to resolve, and conquering the pessimism. The first ninety days are critical to your success and not phasing in correctly can create damages that can take a year to recover. You must look at your leadership team from their paradigms and realize the impact and reservations they may have with you. There are certain Do’s and Don’ts that come with your initial participation within the organization. Be aware of them and do not make these common mistakes.
1. Don’t – Do not make any immediate changes to the organization. The first mistake you can make is to change a culture you do not understand.
2. Do – Become a sponge for fro understanding the business. You cannot make a strategic plan for a business that you do not understand. It takes time to understand the paradigms that the business is run within and the informal and formal communications, relationships, and interactions. Understand the business well before you come to conclusions.
3. Don’t – Do not overact to immediate relationships and alliances. Initially, you will be approached by and included into some casual conversations and invites. Do not refuse them but take the communications you receive as a perspective. Too often, we form early relationships but find out that they may be tainted or ones with ulterior motives.
4. Do – Reach out to the quiet and standoffs. Some of your best employees will be those that are quiet and reserved. These employees may be your best contributors so reach out to them, start conversations, and ask for input.
5. Don’t – Do not discuss your plan within the first sixty (60) days with anyone. It is essential that you arrive to your plan based on observations and inputs. However, discussion of that plan may change the way people act and react in their current operations and therefore your understanding of the work paradigms may be thwarted.
6. Do – Speak with customers to understand their concerns and observations. Speak with all customers at all levels including the ones that receive your products and perform additional tasks on them. Speak to suppliers to understand their perspectives and working relationships. Ask for honest feedback so that you can improve relationships. Some people may be conservative in their feedback and not want to hurt existing relationships. Ask for detailed information that is not only subjective but one based on data driven questions.
7. Don’t – Jump to immediate conclusions. Take the first (60) days to absorb information without forming any conclusions. If you form a preliminary option, it could allow you to roll additional inputs to support your theories.
8. Do – Reach out to all levels of the organization. The golden nuggets are usually hidden deep with the rank and file. Hold skip-level meetings and all hands meeting also. They can be invaluable in your understanding of the business.
9. Don’t – Rush the process. Form a strategic plan over time and base your opinions, actions items, and plan direction on data. Don’t make purely subjective decisions but validate your opinions with data.
10. Do – Enjoy the process as it is the building blocks for your success. Review the plan and vision with your leadership team and assure that you have consensus. This is the first steps to your success as a leader and your will be rewarded if you complete the transition successfully.