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You're in Charge - Now What?

March 2007

You can expect to experience several first 100 days during your career. Each new role means adjusting to different work cultures, operating processes and management styles. Every shift in the work environment means a fresh start, a new responsibility and a different strategy, often calling on untested skills and untapped resources.

The first 100 days in a new organization or a new role provide both a window of opportunity and a state of heightened risk. Every decision, action and reaction you make — or don’t make — will be scrutinized by employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, the media, the financial community and the board. Everything you say or do will send a message, whether intentional of not, and establish expectations.

Not long ago, chief executives could be fairly sure that they could stay in their roles as long as they wanted to and could take their time to make their mark. In today’s harsh environment that is far from the case. CEOs have less time to prove themselves and are under more scrutiny. In addition, several well-publicized criminal cases involving corporate malpractice have resulted in less tolerance from shareholders, independent boards and the public.

Performance counts more than ever and tenures are shorter than ever. The time you have to prove yourself is short, so how do you do it?

Research among top CEOs — both those who have succeeded and those who have failed — highlights a series of key actions to follow to achieve a great 100 days and maximize the opportunity for enduring performance. You’re in Charge — Now What? authors Tom Neff and Jim Citrin refer to this as the 8-point plan, the elements of which are:

  • Preparing yourself during the countdown period
  • Aligning expectations
  • Shaping your management team
  • Crafting your agenda
  • Transforming culture
  • Managing your board
  • Communicating effectively to all stakeholders
  • Avoiding common pitfalls

You’re in Charge Now What? explains and builds on each of these elements and, through fascinating personal accounts by the world’s leading CEOs and the candid testimonials of those who have experienced failure, reveals previously undisclosed insights and valuable lessons to help new CEOs avoid the pitfalls that have claimed others.

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