As we begin a new financial year, many organisations will be inducting and welcoming new executive hires. It is natural that every new hire will want to make a positive first impression, however the pressure to prove oneself can often be overwhelming, particularly at an executive level. The first 90 days are a crucial time for new executives to build the foundation for their time with a company – it is not a time for revolution.
Companies are tending to hire more for immediate outcomes these days, focusing on the urgent needs of the business and seeking people who can ‘hit the ground running’. This urgency to see results in the first few months can create problems. New executives will feel the pressure to make decisions early and quickly, without having the time to understand the full scope of the business and its people. Acting too quickly can also create negative sentiments among the staff.
Here are our tips for executives starting in a new leadership position.
Step 1: Immersion and absorption
Spend time with the key stakeholders of the business. Talk to as many staff as possible, at all levels of the business. Show interest, ask questions and sit in on meetings. Not only will you gain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the business, but you will also show your staff that you have a genuine interest in who they are and what they do.
This is your opportunity to also express who you are; your values, vision for the future and commitment to the business.
Step 2: Idea Formulation
Dig deeper into the issues of the business to ensure your understanding is comprehensive. Ask yourself what the biggest opportunities and challenges are for the business? Now you can start to brainstorm ideas for a strategy. Ask more questions and bounce ideas off your staff which will make them feel valued and will also warm up the people in the business who may feel resistant to change.
Step 3: Strategy Development
Set goals for the short term and long term future and communicate your strategy to achieve them. It is common for executive leaders to make grandiose gestures and over promise in order to win acceptance. However it is far better to under promise and over deliver – keeping the business and its people happy.
The compulsion to deliver tangible results fast is natural for anyone enthusiastic about starting a new job and is exacerbated by businesses who apply pressure on new hires to immediately produce ROI. This pressure only lends itself to poor decision making, negative sentiments among staff and short-term gain at the expense of long-term goals.