What is the First Thing a New CEO should Do? Your First 100 Days as a CEO

Congratulations on your new position as the CEO. Being a new CEO, your first 100 days are crucial to success for your own and that of the company you are going to lead.

You have been given this position by a board of directors to either turn around an organization, or to build on its success. To make it happen, you will need the support of your leadership team and other people within the organizations. But trust me their support is not ensured.

The employees at your new company are wondering about your leadership skills, your tone at the top and what changes you will make to the culture and business strategy and also the changes to the senior leadership team reporting to yours. Overall, everyone will be expecting that you will move the company forward will be high.

What should a CEO do in the first 100 days?

If we consider any particular days, your first 100 days as CEO is a time for listening, for asking questions and creating impressions. Try to know more about the company, discuss with your board members and the people reporting to you along with those individuals reporting to them.
In the first 100 days as a new CEO, your immediate subordinates, your customers and the entire company will be watching you. They are on wait to see how you relegate to them. According to what you do or don’t do, they will think whether or not they should support you.

The job of CEO is full of challenges. The position might look easy and simple for spectators, but this is not a cakewalk for participants. But with the right decisions and strategic decisions, you can survive and succeed as a CEO in this cutthroat competitive world. To make the first 100 days a success, think about these key focus areas:

What is the First thing a new CEO should do?

Understand Your New Role

To be a good CEO, you should have a good feel for the organisation and what drives its performance. Make an impactful appearance, spend time understanding your role, working with the management team, talk to your clients and employees and try to understand problems and how you can resolve them. It’s okay if you need someone’s advice to deal with the situation.

After taking over as the CEO of the company, you should first find out the multiple issues the company is going through, mainly when it comes to making losses. For instance, you must check where the money is being used and if the money spent is creating enough value.

Get a Vision and Articulate It

Create a vision for the short term as well as long term. Short term vision will help you to get your employees’ confidence. When you fulfil some short-term goals, employees will be supportive during their tenure. The first few days in office as a CEO, you will be building the core team that will help you execute his plans. As a leader, you must be accessible and present an open channel of communities to your employees. This vision should be decided after discussing with your employees and it must be articulated clearly.

An Insider or Outsider

Whether you are promoting from within your organization or round in from elsewhere may influence your approach to the first 100 days. If you are an outsider, connect with a colleague who has been in the company for a long time that can help you to know the culture and how the decision is made.

If you are an insider, you are already aware of the history of the organizations, you need to take a fresh look from the standpoint of a CEO. It is tough, after being with the organization for 5 or 10 years because you think you know it, but this is a new position, you must have a fresh approach and re-learn the organization.

Know the Context

Before taking your decisions and implementing it on the team, first of all, understand the context you are working in, and the players into the game you are now playing. To understand the context go through all the documents like strategy documents, past annual reports of the company, organizational structure chart, data on budgets, performances reviews and more. They can give you a feel of the organizations’ culture and strategy.

Meet Your Management Team

Meet each of your team members one-by-one. Start building a support system at your organizations. Ask them questions like you want to know and understand them. Ask them to be relegated to their current role, how their role fits into the company and support the business strategy, their point of view on the current situation of the organization, what is frustrating them, their hopes and dreams, and many more.

Listen and Learn

You were hired so that you can take the company forward. But to make this happen, there is so much to learn. And this is incumbent on you to build an environment that can maximize your ability to do. Create as many opportunities as possible to meet, create rapport with and build instant connections with employees, customers and other important stakeholders.
Discuss with them what’s working and what’s not working, where they need support, what could be better and what they would do if they were you. And carefully hear their thoughts.
In Spite of being prominent communicators, leaders don’t take the importance of listening seriously. But listening helps you to know your new team and provide a great sense of the existing culture, good and bad.

Slow Down to Speed Up

When you become the leader of a company, you are expected to deliver results immediately. While it is true, this is vital to fight with the temptation to jump into action. But you should go slow into the beginning and try to analyze the current state of the business fully. If you take a more thoughtful decision in the initial phase, you will be able to see higher quality results in the long run.

Take Action in Critical Situations

Although learning and building a foundation for the future is vital, never forget that you are the head of the company and you need to run it so that responsibility can be delegated.
You need to be ready to take action in critical situations, whether internal or external that can threaten the success and growth of your overall business. It is a fact that problems will come, whether it is a big deal of a sudden change in the market or a sensitive employee issue, always stay prepared to deal with the situation.

Create a Parallel Plan

Don’t stay in a bubble. Being the leader of your company, you should not just be limited to understanding your company and products, but work on getting to know about the wider market landscape. Know your customers and understand what your competitors are doing.
While a new CEO you have a lot to learn, the company must be on the way to perform. Don’t overburden your team with your learning. Find out the ways that you can do on your own to speed up the process. Test out your sales enablement training and keep your eyes on as many analyst reports as possible. Check the past board decks and looks at your team presentations, these will help you to improve your marketing strategy and make it impactful.

A 100 and 200 Day Plan

Being a CEO you need to work on your first 100 days or 200-day plan early and get them approved or open for comment by the Board. The Board will likely have a clear picture of their priorities, so you can get some food feedback as to whether you are doing right.

Don’ts for CEOs

For a new CEO who undertakes this challenging role, there are certain things that they should not do. Here is a list of don’ts that new CEOs must avoid to create a positive impact among stakeholders:

  • Don’t follow the strategies of your predecessor as what worked for him or her that might not be good for you.
  • Don’t be rigid in your thoughts and views, it’s okay if you have to customise your leadership style as per the company’s vision and mission and the people working with you.
  • Don’t be an introvert in your role, meet all stakeholders and find out their expectations and aspirations. Mainly if you are an outsider CEO, travel to connect with the people in different branches and get the big picture right.

So, as a newly appointed CEO, spend your first 100 days knowing about your company and people by asking questions and listening before making any major decision. Your board members and employees will expect from you to form the basis of your credibility as they move the company forward.

Your first 100 days as a CEO will be some of the most exhilarating days of your career. Enjoy the journey, but don’t allow the situation to know you overboard. Show your team that you are ready to lead them in the long journey.

The CEO’s first 100 days are about learning, not taking action- listen, get to know the organization, its employees, the community it serves and the board members.

Hope you get the answer for What should a CEO do in the first 100 days? If you have any doubt or want to share anything, let us know in the comment section below.

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