As leaders, we’ve all been there. Having gone through a rigorous and often protracted process of securing a new role, you arrive and set about making your mark. The expectation is that you make a positive impact quickly by securing early wins so that peers and teams can see your value.
When you have been brought in to disrupt the status quo or refresh thinking, the pressure increases, no-one wants to fail in the primary expectation formed at the outset. Therefore, it’s crucial to be conscious of the traps, so you don’t sabotage yourself from the start. After all, we’ve either seen others do this unwittingly or done it to ourselves.
So how do we protect ourselves and the people entrusted into our care?
According to Micheal D. Watkins, author of The First 90 Days, the evidence is clear “when leaders derail; their failures can almost always be traced to vicious cycles that develop in the first few months of the job.”
Watkin has identified the main themes. Failure can be down to the words and actions the new leader uses that send the wrong message. Others fail to develop trust and support first before introducing a new direction. Or they invest too much energy in pointless projects, ignore specific stakeholders and invest in the wrong initiatives. If the organisation is very unlucky, all these may happen.
There are, of course, other factors that any new leader must get to grips with quickly: understanding how decisions happen, the characteristics of previous successful change and how best to influence buy-in.
Leaders must also be careful not to make assessments based on flawed assumptions.
Replication of what has worked for them elsewhere, without a proper understanding of the context, is dangerous. They must be able to see the value in rethinking and grappling with new concepts and realities. Failure to acknowledge these factors means that there is a high probability that clouds of darkness will quickly gather.
Until now, the first 90 days follow a pattern of countless meetings, engaging external help and synthesising the many inputs requiring careful consideration. It also means sifting through the biases that exist in every organisation and impact the ability to evaluate reality correctly.
As organisational health specialists, we recognise the significant challenges, opportunity and expectations of the first 90 days. It is why we believe that our Organisational Health Scan provides a solid foundation and rigour for diagnosing the current state. Just like a Cat Scan’s human equivalent, it allows internal groups to evaluate the system effectively, meaning that real risks, blockages and prospects are quickly and successfully identified.
Because the scan is a self-enabling toolkit, it also delivers the additional advantage of fostering cohesion and alignment. Which, as we know, are critical to meeting expectations early on. Conducting a thorough assessment early on allows leaders to spot dangers and build resolutions based on clarity, not assumptions, with confidence and increases speed to achieving personal and professional success.
What leader wouldn’t want to give themselves and their new colleagues a gift like that?
Contact us for more information on our Organisational Health Scan – World of Work Canvas™ and Toolkit.