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Updated: Oct 16, 2023

What do successful transitioning executives need to know?

Forget the ‘First 100 days’ concept, most senior executives state that it takes them at least six months to really start having impact on the business.

So, what should you, as a new CEO or senior executive, keep in mind through this process?

First listen, then act.

Think not just about what you are going to do, but also what you’re NOT going to do. As Marshall Goldsmith noted, ‘what got you here won’t get you there.’ What are the activities that only you can do and what can you delegate?

Carry that idea to the next level - if you give your team new goals, what priorities are you going to take OFF their plates. According to McKinsey, successful leaders are 1.8 times more likely than others to communicate clear ideas on what to stop along with what to start.

Some other important insights from McKinsey

- 67% of leaders wished they had moved faster to change culture;

- 72% of them wishes they had taken less time to reshape their teams;

- More than 50% wishes they had taken more time to review their personal leadership strengths and weaknesses and evaluated their personal operating models.

Culture is key – what do you have and how is that different from what you want? Think about leadership – not just your own but also that of your team. Do you have the right SMT? Are you leading them in a way to get the most out of them?

Define your goal clearly. How does it align with that of your organisation? Does your team know it and believe in it? It’s not the message sent but the one received that matters. Check with your colleagues whether they really understand your vision and can express it succinctly to others.

Be as specific as you can about your values and principles. As you devolve power, resources and decisions down the organisation, these are going to be absolutely key to ensuring everyone is swimming in the same direction.

Finally, is everyone, yourself included, clear about expectations. Yours for your team, and your stakeholders for you?


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