“The President of the United States gets 100 days to prove himself; you get 90. The actions you take during your first three months of a new job will largely determine whether you succeed or fail.” That’s the challenging message from the book, The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, by Michael Watkins.
And then there’s this. “Even the best-prepared new chief executive can be blindsided by the realities—and limitations—of the job.” That’s from the Harvard Business Review article, “Seven Surprises for New CEOs.” (Order Reprint R0410C at www.hbr.org.)
But the challenge is even deeper, every day. Leaders and managers, beside managing themselves, must continually be thinking of the people they lead—especially their new people. Will they stay and thrive or merely survive—or maybe exit prematurely? How do we help them?
Bob Andringa, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Washington, D.C. (www.cccu.org) recommends that every manager and new team member focus on six basic questions. Here they are:
Six Questions All Staff Members Have!
#1. What am I expected to do? Do I know the person who has the answers to this question? Is my role clear? Do I come to the office each day knowing my priorities?
#2. Why is this important? Does my supervisor take time to fill me in on why what I’m asked to do is important? Do I see the connection between each task and the bigger picture?
#3. Do I have authority to do it? Once something is assigned, is it clear I can get it done my own way? Or do I have the responsibility without the necessary authority to do it, i.e., having my work second-guessed or overly supervised?
#4. When I need help, where can I get it? To whom am I free to go for help? Can I spend money to get the help I need? Do I feel criticized when I say I need help on something?
#5. To whom can I give my ideas? Am I respected as a person who has a contribution to make? Do I feel free to make suggestions on how to improve our staff or programs?
#6. How am I doing so far? Do I get honest feedback on my work as often as I need? Is it clear who is supposed to do my performance evaluation and is it done well and on time? Do I feel appreciated here?
“Remember,” says Andringa, “most miscommunication is a result of differing assumptions.”
Peter Drucker said that “vision without execution is delusion.” For more help on vision implementation with detailed execution, email JPA at info@JohnPearsonAssociates.com or go to www.JohnPearsonAssociates.com.