Every time we elect a new president in the United States, we watch his first hundred days in office closely. This has been the case ever since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's inauguration in 1933, amid the devastation of the Great Depression. FDR initiated a flurry of activity, enacting fifteen major laws to push the country out of its economic plight. He set a rather high bar, and we've judged subsequent presidents by it.
But it's not only presidents whose who face this "first hundred days" proving ground. When you become CEO—especially if you've never held the role before—you're going to be under quite a bit of scrutiny. In the opening stretch, employees, customers, and shareholders will form a sense of how you operate as a leader—and whether they will trust you and follow you.
This is not to say you must storm out of the gate with a docket of ambitious FDR-style changes. Roselinde Torres and Peter Tollman, senior partners at Boston Consulting Group, emphasize this point repeatedly in their five myths of a CEO's first hundred days. For example, the first myth:
Myth #1: New CEOs should look outward and move quickly, rapidly inspecting personnel and procedures and identifying shortcomings in order to “sort out the mess.”
Torres and Tollman underscore several times that, often, CEOs do better to spend their first hundred days listening, observing, and absorbing. And ultimately, they say, "the most dangerous myth of all is that a new CEO’s worth can be judged in the 'first 100 days.'”
All this was all on my mind as I stepped up as CEO of Khorus Software earlier this year. My first three months did indeed involve getting the lay of the land before I made any big decisions. I got through the first hundred days in one piece and with several new leadership lessons under my belt—in the areas of time management, decision making, and more.
I wrote about those lessons recently for ThinkGrowth.org:
Whether you are a fellow new CEO or aspire to take on the role one day, I hope you find my experiences useful.
If you're a new CEO looking to align your team and set the stage for smooth execution of strategy, Khorus can help. The first few months of leading a new company are an ideal time to get started with the software. You'll be able to communicate your vision and understand what every team and person is working on. Want to see how it works? Schedule your demo today!