Get the First 100 Days Right

To: Our new CEO

From: Corporate Communications

RE: Your first 100 days

Congratulations. Everyone is excited to have you on board. You didn’t ask for this advice, but we pride ourselves on being proactive and want to help you leverage the excitement of these 100 days.

We know that you have a great vision and exciting plans for our organization. The simple truth is that your credibility will determine how much employees support you and help you fulfill that vision. If employees believe you and your plans, there is nothing that will stop them from achieving the results you and the board of directors envision. The opposite is also true.

Here is our five-point plan for building your credibility and support inside the organization:

Make a symbolic gesture

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. When Gordon Bethune moved into the executive suite at Continental Airlines, he propped open all of the doors to the executive suite, an area of the company that had previously been kept locked and under tight security. Bethune wanted to send the message that a new manager was in town with new ideas. People saw and understood.

Be visible to employees

Get out of your office. Make it a point to walk around, meet people in their working environments, and travel to as many company locations as possible. See the team in action and hear their thoughts as they work. This is an opportunity to get to know the people and to hear their specific insights into the company and its current situation. Ask questions to begin testing your theories, but spend more time listening than talking.

Host listening lunches

Employees admire leaders who listen. Invite a small group of influential community members to attend a lunch gathering. Use this opportunity to learn more about the community, its needs, and ways in which your company can be more supportive and provide greater service. Again, listen more than you speak.

Stick to one major message

Keep your communications simple and meaningful. You have to repeat the same message over and over again before employees will understand what you’re saying and how it affects their jobs. Make sure that the rest of your leadership team is accountable for communicating the same message as well.

Stick to the plan for 100 days

Consistency is a great hallmark of leadership. It is also the foundation of establishing your credibility among employees.

Thanks for your time. Let us know how we can help you.

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