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As an executive joining a new organization, you are expected to achieve a higher level of productivity within the first few months with a lower learning curve than other employees. Executives must be ready to make an immediate contribution once they’ve accepted their job offer. You can achieve this by knowing everything you can about the organization, its culture, your team, your executive colleagues, and the Board of Directors.

The key is to establish your reputation as a knowledgeable and diligent leader in your first 30 days. Your initial focus should be on building relationships, gaining trust, and showcasing your credentials.

Before your first day on the new job, research and refresh your memory on the company background, its products and services and any new developments. If there is an opportunity to obtain feedback from the person whose role you are replacing, take the time to interview him or her to understand the expectations of the role as well as the challenges and how your business priorities fit in with the rest of the team and the company’s overall goals.

Your initial 30 days are all about listening and setting proper expectations. You should be focused on meeting and understanding the roles of your team and the company leadership. Schedule a series of 1:1 meetings with your immediate team, as well as group meetings with your organization, which should focus on understanding cultural issues, obtaining consensus on top strategic priorities, identifying potential improvements in the organizational structure, and ensuring that everyone agrees on the important issues and priorities.

The meetings will set the framework for you to devise a 90-day plan with some achievable, high priority targets. They also provide an opportunity to introduce yourself to team members, clearly articulate your management style, business objectives, and expectations. In addition, you should meet individually with every member of the Board of Directors to ask about their ideas and concerns about the organization.

Further, if your company has multiple sites under your leadership, visit as many different organization sites as possible, spending time with local leaders, as well as staff members, enables you to gain crucial insights to the operations of the organization and culture. 

Armed with this feedback and organizational research, you are now ready to draft a plan for the first 90 days. This action plan outlines the key organizational priorities to address during that timeframe and focuses your efforts on the most important items at hand with tangible deliverables that set the stage for early wins. At the leadership level, change fosters uncertainty. Consistently communicate this action plan with your team and provide continuous feedback. To gain trust early and earn buy-in from your team, it’s imperative to make your team feel included.

The first 90 days of tenure can lay the groundwork for success for years to come. There is a lot of pressure to do all the right things in your first quarter on the job. The goal should be to shape your team in a positive manner and solidify your company leadership’s impression of you early on in your tenure. You need to build their confidence in your capabilities and ensure your team is engaged and aligned to the top strategic goals identified now and to establish for the future.   

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