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  • Writer's picturePierre Brzustowski

100 days to succeed in your new position?


You've reached the pinnacle of your professional ambition, becoming the CEO of the company you've been coveting... and you know that the first few weeks are crucial for shaping your leadership and vision.

Successfully taking up this position requires careful thought and preparation.

To succeed in your new position, you must first avoid the common pitfalls:

Blindly criticizing the past

Avoid criticizing what was done by your predecessors without a thorough understanding of the situation. Don't promise radical short-term changes without a thorough assessment.

Instead, talk about the future, the changing context that requires adaptation. Rally as many of your new colleagues as possible to face up to the new challenges and to support you in the search for new solutions: don't waste time or create tension by asking your teams to disavow their past actions.

Creating unrealistic expectations

Don't create unrealistic expectations in terms of solutions to complex problems, results to be achieved or deadlines before making your first major decisions. If you don't meet them soon afterwards, you'll lose credibility.

Don't put pressure on yourself by trying to present a 100-day plan. Of course, you'll have to start work and communicate. But take the time you need to develop solid, well-considered and realistic solutions, particularly those that consider a sufficiently precise assessment of the resources you have available or those you'll need.

Looking for all the answers

Don't try to pretend you've got all the answers, especially if you're coming from outside the company.

Take the time to ask questions, listen, consider possible options and think of innovative solutions. Respect the experience of long-serving employees.

You'll be able to decide when you have enough information.

On the contrary, keep in mind a few pragmatic recommendations that are not always so easy to put together:

Stay in control of your schedule.

Balance the time you devote to listening to your colleagues, meeting external stakeholders, communicating, and making strategic decisions.

Even if the demands are numerous and rewarding, keep time for yourself, for reflection and for taking a step back.

Take advantage of the first few weeks to set priorities and focus on what's urgent and/or important.

Assert your authority wisely.

Assert your authority by setting realistic expectations, asking the right questions and formulating medium-term perspectives. Show that you're a leader who knows where he's going, who knows how to ask the right questions and surround himself with the right people, to co-construct appropriate and sufficiently elaborate solutions.

Take time for factual analysis and employee appraisal.

Assessing talent and renewing it to meet the company's new challenges and build for the future is one of your fundamental missions. Before making major decisions, gather factual data on the company's strengths and weaknesses, the transformations underway and those to come.

Create the conditions that will enable you to make as few mistakes as possible about the issues to be addressed, your trusted collaborators and the historical people to be repositioned.

Distinguish between operational continuity, emergencies and medium- and long-term strategy.

Make a clear distinction when dealing with issues:

· Without delay, ensure that operational continuity is under control. Dedramatize the change of CEO to field teams. Assure them of your confidence and of the need to maintain current processes, until new directives are explicitly communicated to them.

· Through an initial round of internal and external interviews, identify urgent issues such as the company's cash situation. Come up with pragmatic solutions that don't jeopardize the future: usually operational decisions that don't affect the company's positioning and differentiation.

· Finally, define the issues that require strategic decisions, which will require in-depth reflection and arbitration in terms of resource allocation.

Give yourself the time you need to make the decisions that will shape your company's transformation.

1. Formulate an ambitious vision of the future and a realistic roadmap.

Develop a vision, objectives, and roadmap.

Take advantage of the state of grace of the first few weeks to formulate this vision for the next 3 to 5 years - work with your teams and shareholders to gain their support and commitment. Benefit from the sector knowledge and strategic insight of experienced consultants:

What are the key market trends? What is the strategic objective of the company under your leadership? This ambition must be clear, inspiring and aligned with a raison d'être for the company.

Communicate the key deadlines by which your action plan and quantified objectives will be specified.

2. Identify the main transformation projects.

Draw up a list of the main transformation projects needed to achieve your ambition. Prioritize them according to impact, urgency, and feasibility.

Be explicit about the changes you will be introducing, and about the fundamentals that absolutely must not be touched.

3. Communicate intermediate milestones and the pace of change.

Draw up a solid communication plan to inform your employees, external stakeholders, customers, suppliers, and shareholders of the intermediate stages of the transformation and the pace at which they will take place.

Transparency and adherence to an appropriate timetable are essential to gaining trust.

4. Identify and appoint your management team and contacts as soon as possible.

Carefully select the members of your management team and identify the pivotal people who will act as your relays within the company, as well as key people/experts at all levels of the organization.

Make sure they share your vision and values and support you: take the time to integrate their own contributions and bring them up to speed on your choices and their rationality.

Define a clear division of roles and objectives. Confirm the governance that will ensure you stick to the roadmap you've defined and adjust the trajectory whenever necessary.

Your new position is an exceptional opportunity.

Take the time to build a solid foundation for your leadership and vision.

Unleash the collective intellect, energy, and passion for measurable results throughout the organization.

Beyond that, don't lose sight of the ever-changing environment and the responses that will be required. Be prepared to adapt and reassess your priorities throughout your mandate: a good, well-executed plan with a shared sense of urgency trumps the perfect plan tucked away on the shelf!

Impact 4 Business provides its executive customers with the complementary skills they need, in the way best suited to their specific context: consulting, interim management, mentoring and senior advisory.

The Impact 4 Business partners, with their dual experience in leading strategy consulting firms and as operational executives, are ready to help you succeed in your new position and get your company future-proofed.

To find out more, please contact us:


Impact 4 Business is a collective of partners who provide company executives with the ability to multiply their resources. Our team members all have over 25 years' experience and combine a strong background in strategy consulting (McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Kearney, Oliver Wyman...) and operational leadership (CEO, BU Director, Executive Committee members). Our aim is to "Get your teams up and running like an Executive, while structuring the project like a Consultant". Tailored to your needs, our engagements combine consulting, interim management, and mentoring.

To find out more:

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