First 100 days – an approach to thinking

A basis for thinking – Part 1
I have heard this called the 100 day march, trial, probation. Its also been referred to as a honeymoon, testing period, break-in time and many other things.

Consultants have railed about its importance. Prospective executives have built up so much angst over this 100 day idea that it almost tired them out before they started the new role. Senior executives would comment ” well lets see what he can do”. just to add some more salt to this idea.

Congratulations! We have created a monster and it is us!

So what is it, how does work, and what’s in it for me or you for that matter.

Starting a new job obviously is an exciting period in one’s career. All of us want to be successful both in our eyes and the eyes of the company we join. The 100 days idea ( it could be any number really) is a recognition that there is much to learn.

First of all please note that this is not a one sided act of being thrown to the lions. The company And the new executive are building a relationship which actually started during the interview stages and certainly developed further during negotiation.

As a team, the relationship should be fostered as a new garden is planned. Maybe that’s where “getting the lay of the land” comes to be. And for many executives they may not have had or given themselves the opportunity to learn first hand about the state of the earth before starting.

So what are we interested in:
The hiring manager ( one person or committee or board) may be asking
.Can she/he deliver
.How will the candidate get along with certain people or
.How will he deal with certain issues ( not always clearly mentioned during the interviews)
.Is there a culture fit
.I hope he knows what he is getting into

The new employee by the way has the same interests.

If the two individuals can work together ( sometimes an executive coach can be a timely help)
and build a relationship, then the first 100 days can be a voyage to discovery. No lions.
If a lion does show up then the relationship is strong enough to manage it effectively.
With this thinking in place we can now set some objectives…

Leadership is not an island

Leadership is hard sometimes. We take a new role and find that we respond to the new dynamics in new unplanned ways .
From the outside we do well assessing the business situation ( like a case at school) and creating a number of pragmatic paper opinions based on good sound logic including ourselves. But we are not logical. surprise!

As we take on new roles, we can only do “so much” pre-analysis before jumping in and being. Sure we use our leadership skills , maybe stoically at first, but reality sets in. The numbers are not as high as we “promised”, out of the corner of our eye we may see the corner of the room coming closer, our board looks at us sceptically ( did we make a wrong choice?) and all of a sudden we respond or react.
Sometimes under pressure we may say things, do things in anger ( fire someone?) as if we had to prove our command position or assert so that in some way we will get respect.

But the world has changed. how we respond under pressure, how we emotionally engage, the personality traits we lean on, are all a currency that have not be counted before.

We realize that it is not enough to do the case study on the business problem/challenge. Now, more than ever, we need to understand ourselves, and team with others who will provide the support and the insight to succeed. We need to accept that we are not alone . That no matter how strong we are, we cannot be bulls in a china shop.

So next time an opportunity presents itself consider who you are, and, using the Heisenberg Principle, understand the effect we will have when we put ourselves on the case.