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The New CEO’s First 100 Days
Subm itte d by Deirdre Ke nny o n W e d, 2007-05-09 12:44.

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The first 100 days in any new job are highly charged with opportunity, expectation and, yes, tension. Amplify those emotions if a newly hired person is joining a corporate board of directors or stepping into a senior executive position. And turn that dial a notch higher still if the individual is assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer. By Deirdre Kenny of CTPartners. It’s best to approach the first 100 days with a plan. The advice which my colleagues and I give to newly-placed CEOs and board members is that they need to give themselves the time necessary for thoughtful observation. Size up the company, assess the talent and consider when to listen and when to act.

Well it’s true that we live in fast-paced times, when markets expect quick, if not immediate, results, it is a mistake to jump into a new Business Management board role without first taking the time to investigate the culture and values of the firm. A rush to action to make a mark may turn out to Companies be a costly mistake.
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The executive’s eagerness to get started and to deliver results is natural. In fact, the closure phase of the executive placement process is filled with conversations that centre upon the needs of the hiring organization and the strategies and tactics that the candidate might adopt if hired. This is terrific input for the candidate, and may indeed seed the early stages of a plan that might ultimately move the executive, and the corporation, in the right direction. However, you don’t want to put the game plan into action before you know the playing field. We stress that the first weeks on the job will allow executives to gain a granular understanding of the matters that were discussed, more generally, during the interview stage. In addition, there is another valuable, if under-utilized, tool that can help newly placed executives to learn more about the hiring organization. Have lunch with your search consultant before the first day on the job. While the candidate and recruitment professional will have shared a great deal of information during the search process, there may be further details and insights that the consultant will now be free to disclose, once the candidate has signed the employment contract and become a business partner of the hiring corporation. We believe that for CEOs, the Communications Plan is as important during the first hundred days as the Action Plan. These early-stage communications are a crucial part in a CEO’s many new relationship bridges, and effective communication will manage expectations among the organization’s staff, one’s direct reports, the board of directors, and the company’s clients. How should one begin? The first step is to discover the company’s communications habits and history. How do different groups tend to communicate, and how does information spread throughout the corporation? Do managers tend to walk the halls? Do they call meetings? A CEO can have a great message, but it may not be heard or understood if he or she does not understand how the organism that is the company communicates. In one case I recall, a new CEO’s favored method of communication was email. However, his predecessor had always chosen to communicate via voicemail. Neither style was wrong, but if a new executive plans to alter customary communication habits, he or she should be aware that messages may not be heard so well at first. But

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Manage m e nt philo so phy Mergers a nd acquisitions a nd tak eo ve rs Busine ss structure. the CEO can also begin to identify individuals. You can be sure that decisions will be analysed carefully by employees throughout the company. In the early stages of any new relationship. because people are simply more watchful and attentive. honest communication between the CEO and the team.. When building these important relationships during the first few months. a new CEO can let people know how pleased he or she is to be on the job. First and foremost on that list are one’s direct reports. C-suite replacements should never be undertaken lightly during the early days of a CEO’s tenure. It is important to remember that during the first 100 days of leading a business that one is creating impressions all the time. new chief executives should not confuse the need to communicate with the need to take action or announce new initiatives. it is a team of many countries. executives with whom the CEO has worked effectively in the past. However. To sidestep the significant management challenge with the direct reports. understanding the people and financial health of the business is critical. C-suite teams are increasingly comprised of individuals with diverse cultural backgrounds. Keep people in the loop and let them know that you are gathering the information needed to set a new path. and to establish trust and rapport. busine ss m o de ls & strate gy Japa ne se busine ss culture Em ployee em po we rm e nt British Airwa ys don’t fall into the trap of using a totally unfamiliar tool or technology without practice or support. what happens in the first 100 days will ‘stick’ to you. followed by the board of directors and the company’s entire employee population. the C-suite captains. so pay attention to the message you are sending in action and words. and how often they can expect such communications – then adhere to that timetable. It is always a good idea to tell people when they can expect to hear more from you. The client community should also be prominent on the CEO’s communication list. One executive describes this communications process as building ‘an imbedded degree of belief’. it is wise to be certain that those Latest content From idea to busine ss – the te n steps Are you failing your ne w m ana ge rs? Ho w o ne que stion can he lp yo u m ak e your pe ople m o re e ffective W hy do so m e com pa nie s inno va te m ore successfully tha n o thers? Five steps towa rds bette r strate gy Lea rn how to a na lyse your failure s C o m m unication: a vo id these three traps Ho w do the grea t com pa nie s m a na ge to stand the te st of tim e ? Ho w to he lp e m plo ye es m ee t the ir go als W he n the go ing ge ts to ugh. This is never an easy task. That diversity is a great strength in managing a global business. New chief executives should tread carefully here. It is important to ascertain their viewpoints. In small meetings.. both by themselves and with the rest of the body. After all. many patterns. As a result. It requires the ability to discern how each team member functions. The role of the CEO is to manage through others and to elicit the best performance of each member of the team. This enables one to learn first-hand about the how the component body parts of the company organism work. I would place at the top of the list the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Human Resources Officer. The goal is to open the lines of candid. Expectation management is essential to stemming the flow of inaccurate information and speculation. it is a good idea to schedule frequent meetings with small groups. each with distinct national character and experience. or whether these are accidentally engendered. to determine their strengths and weaknesses. and it can be particularly daunting for first-time CEOs. Assess each person and their role carefully. but that won’t come across if the message quality is poor. This can be a mistake. the to ugh ta ke risk s User login Login/Register . Next. Even when one is not ready to establish a visible path toward the future. traditions and rituals begin to develop. particularly thought-leaders and domain experts. especially when wholesale replacements combine to undercut the company’s morale and sense of loyalty. Whether these are things that a newly hired CEO intends to create. and to enact strategies that raise their performance to its maximum potential. but increases the complexity of building direct relationships and bringing a team together. In a European context. take shape and become well-rooted. CEOs frequently leap to replace existing C-suite officers with their `own` new team. Europe United isn’t a team of one voice and view. then move definitively if change is needed. CEOs will want to create and prioritize the list of people with whom they will communicate regularly and build key relationships.

since 1980. life sciences. which have been commissioned by Sovereign Publications for their bi-annual magazine.com/ceo-art. and board searches. go to: http://www. To contact Sovereign and CEO Today. and will appear later in the first 2007 issue of this publication. financial services. The articles published here in the Thinking CEO are internet updates of the latest management knowledge and practice. CTPartners offers expertise in technology. top executive. CAC 40.sovereign-publications. With a proven record in C-suite. FTSE 100. CEO Today. and manufacturing. actions and words are carefully considered and deliberate.htm Find related articles C o m panies : C TPa rtne rs Ma nagers : De irdre Kenny The Think ing CEO : Pro ductivity Thro ugh P eo ple . DAX and other leading global corporations. retail. NASDAQ.thoughts. media and telecom. Deirdre Kenny is a partner at global executive search firm CTPartners founded in 1980. professional services. a performance-driven executive search firm serving Fortune 1000. as well as private equity and venture capital services.