Today marks President Biden’s 100th day in office. Initially touted as a transitional president, he is now being viewed by many as transformative. During his first 100 days, he has signed 42 executive orders, delivered more than 200 million vaccines and passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package to rebuild the American economy.
It was President Roosevelt who coined the phrase “first 100 days” in 1933 to describe the period of time considered a benchmark of a leader’s early success. This ability to make a great impression with your colleagues and stakeholders from the outset is crucial to success. So, if you’ve been promoted to a new role or changed career direction, take inspiration from President Biden and follow these 4 steps to make your first 100 days count.
Step 1 – Understand Your Role
During your first 30 days, it’s crucial to clarify your role and responsibilities. Take the time to understand your early success measures, commitments and deliverables so you know exactly what is expected of you. Dial up your EQ and actively listen to your peers and team to help you build a clear picture of the challenges you are likely to face. A great way to do this is to hold an initial meet and greet with your team on day one to show you are visible and approachable, followed by 1:1’s with direct reports and key stakeholders to start building strong relationships. Next, focus on your external relationships by selecting five key people to interview. Ask them what they think is going well, whether there are areas for improvement and how you can help them. By standing in their shoes and understanding their specific needs, you are more likely to be able to build rapport and deliver results that benefit both parties.
Step 2 – Prioritise Your Tasks
Starting a new job can be a daunting prospect, with so much to achieve, it can be difficult to know where to begin. The interviews you conducted in step one will have helped you understand the burning platforms, the next step is to identify your key priorities. A great tool for achieving this is the 4 D’s – Do it, Delegate it, Delay it, Ditch it. By prioritising the urgent and important tasks, delegating the urgent not important, delaying the not urgent but important and ditching the not important not urgent, you are sure to kick-start your first 100 days focusing on the right tasks.
Step 3 – Develop Your Plan
Once you’ve identified your key priorities, the next step is to develop your plan by focusing on people, investment and processes. Carry out an audit of your team, ensuring the ambitions of the individuals match their capability. Assess how your team are impacting their areas of responsibility. If you need to make those tough calls on underperformers, do so quickly and decisively to keep the momentum moving forwards. Next gain a thorough understanding of the returns on investment. Where there are gaps, pause any investment until the KPI’s become clearer. You will then be able to compare existing allocation with new asks. Finally review all the processes in your area and identify ways to reduce complexity and deliver quick wins.
Step 4 – Take your stakeholders on a journey
The ability to engage your stakeholders and take them with you on a journey is key to achieving success in your new role. As business guru Simon Sinek, said “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” So, work with your peers to establish the role your team wants to play within the organisation. Put together a simple and persuasive presentation and test your thinking with internal stakeholders before sharing it on a wider basis. Always take on board any feedback and keep refining your plan. Remember to keep those feedback and communication channels open.
By following these 4 steps, you will be well on your way to unlocking your leadership confidence so you can hit the ground running and make a real impact in your first 100 days.