Leaders new to a team have the unenviable task of getting results, building trust, and establishing credibility. All the while they are learning their new role and possibly even a new company.
For some leaders, doing one or the other is attainable, but doing all simultaneously can be a daunting task. It can be a delicate balance at times, and giving attention to everything at once can be a bit overwhelming.
Whether the leader is brand new to leadership, or new to their team, or is a seasoned leader in a new company, the ability to quickly establish change can make or break the leader as well as their teams, and possibly the organization.
I have realized over the years that the most effective way for a leader to create results and build culture is to adopt a rolling focus, 30-60-90 day game plan. Here it is in simplified form:
First 30 Days – Focus on People & Culture
During this time you should make every effort to connect with as many people in your company as you can. At the same time, immerse yourself in the company culture including values, mission, goals, and current (if any) strategic plans. You want to find out who your people are, what strengths they bring to the team, and how aligned they are with the company culture. At the same time, you will be promoting the culture and re-establishing everyone’s belief in the organization and where it’s headed. Getting everyone connected to yourself, and more importantly to the greater vision and mission, is the primary objective in the first 30 days.
Next 30 Days (30-60) – Build the Brand
As you are laying the foundation of culture among your people, you’ll be seeing how things operate and looking for ways to execute flawlessly. Brands are built internally first by ensuring the business model and daily operations support the culture and effectively serve your clients and customers. Take this time to really focus on training, procedural simplification, process improvement, and other efficiencies that will make your brand more consistent and reliable. The best marketing campaign for any company is wasted money if the service cannot be relied upon.
Final Stretch (60-90 DAYS) – Profitable or Sustainable Growth
Now is the time to plan marketing, strategic growth, and revenue opportunities. By this time you have started a trajectory that will enable you to capitalize on the work done thus far. Now you can confidently say your products are better than the competition because of the attention to quality. You can promote best-in-class service because your people are engaged. And you can find new methods to increase top-line revenue and control your costs that will allow the organization to fund new initiatives, hire more people, and impact more customers.
These 30-day increments are designed to make the most of the foundation needs of the organization before moving on to the next phases. That doesn’t mean in the first 30 days you won’t need to worry about operations or profit and loss (these are daily focuses from the first day). But you’ll need to make the concerted effort to enhance the culture, then the brand, then the growth that will become the springboard for change and results. And through this 30/60/90 day cycle, you’ll see results in your metrics at the end of each month that will show how effective this approach can be.
Many new leaders have a 3-month, 6-month, and first-year game plan to create impact in their new role. But in our faster world, you’ll need to set up a way to hit the foundational touch-points both quickly and solidly. Set the ripple effect from Day 1 that allows culture and people to permeate operations and ripples through sustained results and future growth for your organization.
More From Paul LaRue
Paul LaRue is the creator of The UPwards Leader and Instigator for Lead Change Group. His background in senior leadership, strategic planning, culture change, and people and organizational development gives him unique insight into the workings of successful organizations. Paul has given speeches and training sessions for many public and private entities and stresses the virtue of a culture that centers around core values and character in leadership.