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If the board offers you First 100 Days, just say no

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Ted Blackwater ▼ | May 7, 2018
First 100 Days
Leading   Do you want to be the CEO of that particular company?

The First 100 Days is a nice concept. As a new CEO you have time to walk around, learn about your new company, talk to people, see how it works... And you may end up with "A man with no courage" nickname.

You already know that wise leaders listen, learn, and think before they make a step. That's especially true in a new organization.

There is so much to learn: from the culture, to products, to people and their relations. Strategy, tacticts, what works and what doesn't, who's in charge for what, where's your new office and... where the hell is that vending machine with cookies?!

It seems reasonable that 100 days is something you can use to prepare yourself to your new job and to prepare your employees to work with you.

But if the devil is in the details, we have a bunch of devils just waiting to jump on you. And they are not friendly.

The first devil is time.

100 days is a lot of time. A lot. It takes one decision, just one, to destroy the company or to come up with an idea about a new and revolutionary product. A second. And you have 100 days. That's three months and ten days. In three months whole companies fall without even having a chance to resurrect.

The second devil is the you are not the ultimate force in the company.

There is your board, stakeholders, your employees and clients. Every single person from any of the group has a legitimate right to ask "What are you doing? Walking around? Talking to people? Learning? That's ok but... what are you doing exactly?" Nobody likes somebody going around for months without results.

The third devil is your salary.

As a CEO, you don't have $15 per hour, you are receiving a serious amount of money. And the first 100 days means that you worked for a three months and a bit - contributing nothing. That's a full earnings quarter. And image your chairman answering the question during a conference call "Well, you know, our new CEO will connect the dots... Eventually."

The fourth devil is your homework.

If you need a job, you'll accept anything. But if you want to be a CEO of that company and they accepted you, that means that you want to work exactly there and that you know something about it and its products and market position.

You don't have to know the people and inside relations but if you don't know anyting then you didn't do your homework or at least you didn't do it well.

When you are a new CEO, a good thing to start with are bold moves. Come up with an idea that will make employees' life easier, connect with new partners... Do something brave to show your decision making skills and earn your salary.

So, the next time the board offers you The First 100 Days, decline that offer. Because that's what great leaders do.


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