So what gets in the way? Among the potential pitfalls to a new leader’s success will be:
- a set of unclear expectations
- a pressure to perform early on
- a focus on the immediate needs, rather than playing the long game
- a lack of resources to help the new leader orientate
To address the issues faced by any new leader, organisations are starting to focus on getting them up to speed, helping them forge effective relationships and providing resources to accomplish what is expected
Prior to engagement, leaders are being set up for success by agreeing and setting objectives for the first 100 days. Often, the new recruits are given access to an external coach to work through these before signing them off.
Within the first 30 days, the new leader then drafts a strategic plan to cover the next six months, identifying opportunities for early wins and specifying accountabilities and performance standards. This includes any personal development the new leader considers critical for success during this period.
Alongside this, the leader assesses the strength of his or her new team to ensure capability is aligned to objectives and roles.
Then, within the first 45 days, the leader completes a full stakeholder analysis. The leader identifies those people in the organisation who will be influential to the strategic plan. and a series of meetings are held with these key stakeholders, to identify important issues the new leader can impact and to establish expectations.
A full-day meeting between the leader and his or her new team takes place within the initial 60 days, often facilitated externally. Team issues are identified and action plans are created in collaboration.
An experienced external coach can offer a unique and objective perspective to the new leader’s first 100 days, adding value by identifying patterns of behaviour not readily recognised by those inside the organisation and providing a ‘safe haven’, giving the new leader someone to speak to openly and honestly.
Whether external or internal, organisations are at last waking up to the benefits of supporting the whole leader, exploring what works well during the critical first 100 days in role and their personal context, e.g. the new leader’s personal style, strengths and development needs, emotional reactions, stress of cultural adjustment, role pressures, family impact, etc.
Ensuring that the right leaders are recruited, stay with you and succeed is an investment not just in their future but in the organisation’s as well.