With anointment of a new POTUS, now’s a good time to talk how to get off to a great start with your new organization
It’s inauguration season again in the United States. It’s like deer hunting season, except typically about half the country feels like they’re the ones getting fleeced.
This time around, it’s a fact that many would rather swear at then swear in our new leader, but either way that shouldn’t keep us from learning something from this tradition.
All year ’round, many leaders are introduced to their new organization for the first time as well. While every new leader might not have an organization as big as The United States of Beyoncé to lead, they all have one thing in common – they want to get off to a fast start.
And so many are off and running, with their version of a 100 Day Plan tucked under their arm and vim and vigor to spare.
But in the startup phase, one piece is often missing–the organization.
It’s critical to incorporate an others-focused mindset into the more standard “What do I need to create/establish/command/control?” opening salvo.
Yes, you want to maximize results in your first few months, but you also want to maximize the trust and felt confidence in you as the new leader as well as accelerate the formation of meaningful bonds with and amongst the troops.
And so, I offer a six-step plan, what I call the B.O.S.S. (Blueprint for an Organizationally Savvy Startup).
- Provide affirmation up front
Express admiration for the work to date and workers in place. Hearing from a newcomer what’s impressive about a work group helps reinforce feelings of self-confidence and competence. It also sets a tone of respect.
- Signal your desire to prioritize
Organizations are often fearful that their new leader is going to throw them into a dervish of doing everything.
Establish right up front that you’ll be learning about and focusing on doing the work that matters most. Doing work that matters is one of the core tenets of employees finding meaning in what they do.
- Indicate you’re a fan of learning and growth
People love leaders that embrace the importance of learning, growth, and personal development in addition to a focus on hitting the numbers.
Relate stories about lessons you’ve discovered that the organization has learned along the way and why they’re important. Interject the term “personal development” in your town halls. Signaling a keen interest in business and personal growth will be appreciated.
- Conduct multi-level on-boarding interviews
Change is hard enough on an organization; change without any sense of control is worse.
If you take the time early in your tenure to solicit observations and input from all levels of the organization, and are personable about it in a one-on-one fashion, you engender a win-win situation.
Specifically, you’ll get valuable front-line perspective and gain appreciation for each person you meet. The interviewees may well be astonished you took the time to sit with them and solicit their point of view. They’ll feel heard and in touch with their new leader, and like they’re contributing to any forthcoming change or decisions.
- Score quick wins and share a directional agenda
Admittedly, this is more classic 100 Day Plan type stuff, but with a different intent. Quick wins help employees quickly feel confidence in and a connection with their new leader.
And as Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days indicates, early wins “create a pervasive sense that good things are happening”.
Also, be sure to share an early directional agenda–it dispels unproductive guesswork as to your priorities.
- Reinforce one culturally desired behavior and eradicate a corrosive one
Employees want to know their new leader is in tune with and cares about “the smell of the place”. They want the leader to respect and add to the good things about a culture and address head-on the corrosive elements of it.
For example, make early overtures to indicate you’re a caring and authentic leader if that’s the vibe (or if you want it to be), while symbolically stopping a corrosive, pervasive behavior – like excessive internal competitiveness.
While you may not be the new POTUS, this can still be a big moment for you too if you apply these organization friendly new leader lessons.
This article by Scott Mautz also appeared on Inc.com. To read more Inc. articles by Scott Mautz click here.
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