“Don’t just do something, sit there.”
When taking over as the new CEO, your first impulse may be to take immediate action. Put your mark on the place. You may have even read an article that says “make a major decision in the first 90 days that lets everyone know you are in charge.” Unfortunately, that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. Unlike a new NFL coach, you don’t have 100’s of hours of video and public coverage at your disposal. These details for your grand plan will have to be uncovered as you go.
Here’s what you can and should do:
Get to know your people.
Some people’s power comes from their title (VP, CFO). Others get it from the influence they have through their knowledge and communication. The engineer who knows the code that holds your systems together. The customer service agent that key customers will stay on hold for 15 minutes to talk to, because she gets results. Find the people that have influence beyond the leaders. Your people create your horsepower.
Get To Know Your Customers.
Just because you aren’t making presidential decrees doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be seen. If yours is like most companies, 20% of your clients drive 80% of your business. Talk to the ones that mean the most to your company and learn what they love and hate.
Get To Know Your Numbers.
Look back at your history and learn the stories behind the numbers. Are you a seasonal or cyclical business? Are people optimistic or pessimistic with their forecasts? Do a few key customers consistently drag out their payments?
Start to build your plan.
Once you have a lay of the land (after about 90 days,) you should gather the executive leaders to build a plan that will give people a vision (up to 5 years out) of where they are going and why they are doing what they do. Then shape that vision into more concrete, practical and tactical steps that will be mapped out this year, this quarter, this month. If it’s your first time, you may want to get help from someone that has successfully done it before.
If you have further questions about starting or finishing your tenure as a CEO reach out to Todd at dynastylc.com.
Todd is also the host of the Dynasty Leadership Podcast. Recently, Todd interviewed Craige to discuss patents from Todd’s unique perspective as a CEO Executive Coach. Below is the recording to that interview about protecting your best original ideas.