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Managing the first 100 days as CEO

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You are now the Chief Operating Officer of a company. Your new job duties are diverse and complicated.

If you took the role of CEO from the same company, you might know the organization well. However, the job now has changed.

If you have taken the role from outside of the company, whether you have performed your role as a CEO at another company or not — your job at this company will be different. The job is complex and duties are huge.

In your first 100 days, establish the fundamentals of your future success. There are three things you should do in the first days:

  • Identify the problems
  • Empower your team
  • Set a clear direction

Identifying the problems

Initially, it would help if you asked all the employees within the company and external stakeholder, any questions that you may have regarding the business. This way, you can find out what stakeholders think about the business at different levels. If you don’t do it in the early days, it will become difficult in the coming time.

It will give you a clear understanding of the challenges the business is facing. This judgment will help you set a clear direction for the business later on.

A key thing to remember here is that you should focus more on your interpersonal skills than your performance. More CEOs are fired because of their interpersonal skills on the first days rather than performance issues.

You can strengthen your position by:

  • Identifying people who influence or affect your success in any way.
  • Analyze the problems faced by each stakeholder. You have to maintain a healthy relationship with all the stakeholders.
  • Making a proper management plan to deal with every stakeholder differently

The most crucial stakeholders could be found within the organization, including executives, managers, and other employees. People who are not directly reporting you may take a long time to understand your nature.

In the first 100 days, you can send extremely powerful signals. But, make sure you understand the company’s culture and the issues within it, so you can choose which signals to send.

Developing a powerful team

We don’t need to explain the importance of a strong team for success. Your first few days as a CEO, allow you to analyze the team and restructure it. 100 days is enough time to assess a team and to identify the problems. You should be able to figure out whether your employees have the skill to deliver the expected performance.

The most important thing at this stage is being decisive. Take your time to analyze your team. You may get a bad impression of some employees at first but they could be reliable. If a manager demands some time to commit, be flexible. Some managers cannot make an instant commitment as they may want to reflect and then commit.

After you have built your team, it is now time to align them all in the same direction.

Setting the direction

In most cases (if the company does not demand any rapid action to fix problems or overcome a crisis), CEOs use the first 100 days to observe and learn. But first, you need to find out whether your business requires a rapid action or not. If the company is facing a crisis and it isn’t easy to survive, then you must act first instead of learning. The time in the first 100 days must be managed smartly. Don’t spend your time doing things that could be done by hiring an executive search firm. For instance, if you need to hire an executive such as CFO or COO, hire a board place firm. A renowned firm like cap can save you a lot of time by using their expertise to find out the right executive.

If you don’t take learning seriously, it can fail to develop a consensus around the vision.

If you have learned and identified all the problems regarding the business, then you should spend your time in creating a robust coalition of all the stakeholders around the same direction.

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