I often have the distinct pleasure and honor to coach/on-board executives beginning new positions, often in a “C Suite” role. It’s an exciting time for them (and for me). They’ve been selected for their knowledge, judgement and ability to lead. The Board or President has a lot invested in making their executive’s assimilation seamless and welcomed.
However, my first bit of coaching to the new exec is…don’t rush it!
Learn the Issues
If you find yourself in this position, take the time to understand the core issues of the organization. Any good executive will begin to grasp the challenges they will be facing by understanding the “keep me up at night” issues of the president/board. I’m confident most people given this opportunity can, and will, understand the issues facing their new organization, demonstrate their 100 day action plan, and present their one-to-three year vision.
Learn Your New Team
My concern is how you introduce your ideas, action plans and values to the team that will report to you. Here’s a hint…they are as important as the person who selected you. Never discount them. Treat them like a client you’re meeting for the very first time. Forget that they are now reporting to you. Desire to understand their world BEFORE you present your world.
Start As An Observer
It is implicit in your appearance that you are the new executive that will lead them, but don’t over sell it. Start as an observer. Don’t speak more than they do for the first few months. Hold as mission critical the understanding of their goals and challenges. Illicit their feedback on issues to have a baseline understanding of your new organization and how you’ll introduce the “sea-changing” directions that got you hired. Set a schedule to meet with them individually to let them know their ongoing input is going to be important to you.
No Sudden Moves
If you are thinking “no-sudden-moves,” you’re right. Your direct reports want to follow you voluntarily, not reaction-ally. An essential goal during your first 100 days is to have people speak well of you, endorse you and appreciate the manner in which you interact with them.
They’ll vote you in quicker than you can!
What’s the biggest challenges you’ve faced when starting a new management position? Let me know below in the comments.