3 Things You Need To Do So Your First 90-days Aren’t Your Last Days

So you have been hired as a CEO or other senior role.

First, you must understand that your job is to achieve the organization’s strategic goals.

As the person holding that position, you must demonstrate superior management skills and leadership expertise to connect all facets of the organization to the mission through open, honest and transparent communication.

First 90:

I am not a massive fan of the 90-day plan, but you better understand what you will do today when you show up for that first day of work.

Here is the focus of the first 90 days of your tenure will be to establish a solid base from which you can achieve your strategic goals by gathering information and setting a solid leadership tone:

1. Before Day One: The first step is to get over yourself and commit to the organization you have chosen to lead. It would be best if you devoted time to becoming familiar with the organization and its situation through informal meetings with the Board Chair and Executive Committee.

2. People: Attend to the fundamental “people processes” and leadership basics of getting to know your new team and identify items requiring immediate attention or ongoing legal issues. After confirming that these have been adequately addressed, turn your attention to team evaluation, its performance and team building.

3. Your Boss’s Priorities: Your most important relationship is with your boss. Review recent business and reports, the status of the strategic objectives and most importantly, establish parameters of your authority.

Read about Partnering with your boss.


  1. Listening: Talk with (and listen to) everyone, starting at the top and working down through the organizational hierarchy. These conversations will build credibility and relationships with key individuals, staff, and stakeholders.

Read about using silence to listen better.

2. Assessing the Staff team: This includes evaluating the team members and organizational structure relative to meeting our goals. It would involve time with team members to understand their history, focus, roles, and what is on their minds.

Do not feel compelled to resolve structural problems within 90 days, but assess the issues. Your new staff team may be fragile and would naturally be worried about a new Boss. Be on the lookout for team members who may require careful attention or those who are, perhaps, no longer fully committed and consider performance management plans as needed.


  • Easy Wins: Addressing the easy, noncontroversial activities, which can be fixed quickly and successfully, will make an essential statement about trust and leadership.
  • Get Out: Interacting with colleagues and stakeholders will increase your credibility but not neglect the business.
  • Communicate: Change is difficult. So, for even the most minor changes, consider a change management plan that would clearly and consistently communicate the change to those impacted, including those who may have only minor interest.
  • Set the Stage: People will oversee your activities; perceptions are essential. To those watching, time spent on an activity will signal its importance and set an example of work ethic.


Develop the Long Plan

As you do what I suggest, share your findings and thoughts with the Board as a sounding board and to receive advice and guidance.

As you close in on the 90-day mark, develop a strategy and craft your plan to lead and achieve our strategic goals and results.

High Performance is not the same as High Potential

We have all seen that employee, the one so good at their job no one can hold a candle to them.

I have seen it a thousand times: the soldier who was the best shot in the Regiment, the carpenter who built houses that could withstand a hurricane, or the warehouseman who knew where everything was.

All of these people and many, many more are examples of high performers.

But that soldier was always in trouble; the carpenter was promoted and failed as a supervisor, and the warehouseman would never give the last box of widgets out because he would have none left.

A soldier who can only do one thing and not get along with his peers is not a good soldier.

The warehouseman who cannot see his job as more than neat rows of shelves is a detriment to your operations.

And the world is full of poor site-superintendents who were, at one time, great carpenters,

Of course, functional ability and competency are essential.

But the difference between high performance and high potential is something you can easily spot.

What does it look like?




Consistently exceed expectations and have a track record of getting the job done.

Have demonstrated an initial aptitude for their technical abilities.
Take pride in their accomplishments.  The high performers determine their standards when it comes to quality results.
 May not have the potential (or desire) to succeed in a higher-level role. Have the ability and the aspiration to be successful leaders within an organization.
Need constant encouragement and challenging assignments. Work to understand the business on a deeper level and how it can significantly impact its success.



There is nothing wrong with high performance; we need these technically advanced people in our organization and reward and motivate them respectfully and fairly.

But DO NOT confuse High Performance with leadership potential.

As organizational leaders, we need to be ever vigilant with the high-potential people in our companies because they are often quiet and unassuming compared to their high-performing coworkers.

You can often hire technical expertise.

But you may never find that one leader you need to ensure your organization has the health and strength to succeed!

6 Hiring Mistakes That Can Cost You a Fortune

“Hiring mistake? What’s the big deal?

Yeah, so we lose one; thousands of those can fill their shoes!”

While pacifying yourself by saying this to yourself when a disgruntled employee leaves your company, it’s good to be mindful of the costs incurred by the employee who left.


Yes, and it’s hefty, keeping aside the time and energy spent considering a hiring manager’s mistakes.

What happens if you make recruitment mistakes?

According to careerbuilder.com, employers asked how a poor hire impacted their company noted:

  • decreased productivity by 37 percent,
  • extra time needed to find and train a replacement employee by 32 percent, and
  • subpar job quality by 31 percent.

What is a bad hire? What is the worst that a Hiring mistake can cause?

A bad hire is an employee who exhibits conduct that has a detrimental effect on team spirit, output, and essential business relationships.

A poor hire could lead to conflict in the office, undermine employee motivation and output, and pose a real threat to the expansion of your company. There are the financial expenses for the hiring and onboarding process and the employee’s compensation, benefits, and lost time and money spent hiring a replacement.

Finally, please take into consideration the effects on the remaining members of your staff, such as how motivated they are, how morale is affected, how much time and money are needed to rectify or repeat a terrible hire’s work, and how much more work managers must fit into their daily schedules to compensate for this shortcoming.

Your company’s reputation can be harmed, particularly if poor hires encounter clients directly.

Now that you know the avalanche that could be started because of mis-hires, here are a few top hiring mistakes to avoid before you burn out your company’s time, money, and resources.

Recruitment mistake 1: Hiring a candidate because you ‘know’ them.

Taking someone in because you owe that friend or friend you are inclined to push might be expensive. This friend of a friend may not have the skills you need. If you are worried about hurting someone’s feelings, remember that a true friend understands the situation they are putting you in if you end up taking a bad hire.

Recruitment mistake 2: The hiring because you were under pressure to Act

Deadlines and budget constraints could push you to make a bad hire, and it could haunt you. Managers might say, “We need to hire someone immediately,” which inevitably leads to a hiring mistake. Everyone becomes quite vigilant. The consequence of taking in a fast hire will often be a mis-hire.

Recruitment mistake 3: Not letting Actions speak louder than Talent.

It’s easier to unlearn if grades are not allowed to determine a person’s or a candidate’s overall quality. But here’s a fact: even someone with the highest GPA will not know the particulars needed for your posted job. And they may not even be a nice person. So, make it a point to test for character rather than the words in the resume.

Recruitment mistake 4: Do they fit in or stick out?

Ignoring how suitable the worker is to your culture is essential. The misfit will tend to underperform and create lousy office morale. Even the ablest candidates will underperform if their working style clashes with the hiring manager or doesn’t fit the team and company culture. The reasons for their non-functionality may be deeply rooted, so verifying their fit to the work environment is very important.

Recruitment mistake 5: Not picking the right kind of help.

This is the age of online skill and psychometric assessment platforms. The right thing to do is to pick the platform or the resource person that aligns differently with your visions and requirements; you might as well have hired yourself. Once you’ve hired top-notch people, integrate them into your staff smoothly. The long-term success of new hires depends on a thorough, structured onboarding procedure, which can also increase employee engagement and retention.

But remember to add a human touch. Greeting cards from management and co-workers may give a new hire a sense of encouragement. Instead of concentrating solely on orientation and paperwork, other effective onboarding tactics involve introducing the employee to the company’s culture and objectives.

Recruitment mistake 6: Not keeping pace.

It takes meaningful innovation to succeed when hiring. A solid talent base is essential for this. After you’ve chosen the finest candidates, it’s critical to keep advancing their skills so they can consistently exceed the competition. There are lots of specialized online training providers. And many in-person & virtual options.

Thoughtful Profound Questions Will Tell When You Are About To Make A Good Hire – Their’s, Not Yours!

Gary Vaynerchuk tells a story about when his ego got in the way of firing a bad hire. It was so bad that he fired the person on their first day. At least in Vaynerchuk’s mind, he fired the person on the first day, but it took Gary 4-months to do it.

Why? Because his ego got in the way, and he didn’t want to admit he made a mistake.

I did that, too. I made a terrible hire but was so committed to a course of action that I couldn’t get out of my way to do the right thing.

Read the story here.

A few years back, I hired a person on my team against other people’s wishes. I was sure he had the right skills and experience, and hiring the usual suspects hadn’t gotten the results I needed & wanted, so maybe it was time to be disruptive. I wasn’t sure I liked him either. He wasn’t kind or diplomatic in his comments. He wasn’t likable., He was a bully, and my not dealing with it caused harm to many people.

Big Mistake.

I used to have a propensity to hire only for talent. Until I realized that wasn’t helpful.

Another mistake.

Or I would hire people I liked. And I thought that was going well until I realized I had filled the room with many Me’s.

And that wasn’t helpful in the least.

But I have learned from my mistakes.

Three steps to making better hires?

Here is what you need to do.

Check your ego, and take time and space to consider the following questions:

  1. Make a list of your best hires. Consider why these people were great hires. What did they have in common? What parts of the process were most valuable?


  1. Consider what your organizational culture is, and then hire for fit.


  1. And lastly, don’t be blinded by talent. Talent is shiny and exciting, but it is not enough. My worst hire was super talented, but he was an SOB.

Then, set up a conversation when you land on a preferred candidate or a short list of a couple of people.

Try to do it over lunch or breakfast.

Watch how that person interacts with the waitstaff, whether off-site or over a meal. As this will speak volumes about that person’s character.

Get your copy of the Hunger Humble & Smart Hiring guide here.

Then, when the time is right, say this:

“Hey. Let’s not waste your time here by telling me what is in your CV and your work history or regurgitating any of the answers you gave during the interview process.

But please tell me what questions I can answer for you about this job?”

Usually, this completely disarms the candidate because they were likely expecting another round of canned interview questions. And:

  • It will demonstrate if they need to prepare to take on this role. If they had thought about it, they would have lots of questions.


  • It will show if they have connected with you deeper than responding to a question.


  • If they stumble around, it will show that they may not even know themselves as well as you need,


  • And finally, it will show if they are curious. Curious about the role, about you and the risks of coming to work for you. And there are always risks in changing jobs.

And if they ask good, thoughtful and, hopefully, profound questions, these will tell you they will be a good hire.





Does Your Team Have an Accountability Problem?

“We need to hold people more accountable.”

How many times have you said this in the past year? When things aren’t going well — maybe your numbers are down, you haven’t met your goals, or your pipeline is dry — it’s easy to turn to this familiar mantra.

But when you say it, your team members hear: “You are letting me down,” or, “We are failing.” Instead of lighting an inspired fire under people, you can deflate them.

While there will undoubtedly be times when your team could put in a more focused effort, in my experience, a “lack of accountability” often results from an underlying issue, such as unclear roles and responsibilities, limited resources, a poor strategy, or unrealistic goals. This is why leaders who default to a plea for accountability often hit a wall and feel even more frustrated.

Further, verbalizing that there is “a lack of accountability” on your team can quickly come off as threatening or condescending to people on the receiving end. This is hardly productive when trying to inspire change; more importantly, it doesn’t help you get to the root of the problem.

When you need to push those around you to get better results (that’s what you are looking for), a better approach is to tackle the issue with a leadership mindset. Use the following steps to guide yourself on how to start the conversation, identify the real problem, and execute a plan to help you solve it.

Check in with yourself first. 

Instead of asking, “Why aren’t they doing their part?” ask, “Is there anything I can do differently to help?”

While you should avoid feeling compelled to complete someone else’s work, it is beneficial to consider whether gaps in communication, process or other areas are setting you both back.

Before even approaching the other person, consider the following:

  • Have I been transparent about my expectations?
  • Have I asked what I can do to help?
  • Have I taken time to brainstorm and review processes?
  • Have I built a plan of action with my team members?

Self-awareness is a leadership superpower, and reflecting this way may help you recognize any unhelpful patterns you can fall into.

Another tip for increasing self-awareness is to pay attention to what’s happening in your body.

Do you feel tense when considering this discussion with your team member? Do you clench your jaw, fidget, pace, bounce your leg, change your facial affect, talk more, or shut down?

Work to shift your mindset from a place of hostility to a place of curiosity about how you can help.

Create a safe environment for the other person. 

Once you’ve set up time to talk, begin the conversation by asking fact-based questions. For example, if your team member is constantly missing deadlines, you could start by saying, “I’ve noticed that you seem to need a little more time to get the work done lately.”

If a team member has failed to reach their quarterly goals, you could say something as simple as, “How do you feel your work has been going this quarter?” and gauge their initial reaction.

Provide specific examples, then ask, “What can we do to help you get back on track?”

Avoid jumping directly into critical feedback or using judgmental language such as, “Why would you…”, “You should have…” or “That’s wrong.” It helps to assume positive intent in the other person. The goal here is to listen and to remain genuinely open to their “take” on things.

By listening, paying attention, and understanding the needs and motivations of the other person, you may discover that they are not “lazy,” “incapable,” or “unreliable,” but rather, that they are unclear on organizational goals. You may discover that they need more feedback to do their best work or that other obstacles are holding them back. While none entirely excuse a lack of initiative or follow-through, understanding the underlying issues can give you a clear idea about how to move forward.

Ensure there is clarity and a mutual agreement on moving forward. 

Now that you have identified any underlying issues, it’s time to clarify that your intention in starting this conversation is to address the core of the problem and agree upon a path forward (considering any new information you have just been given).

Whether your goal is to help a direct report meet deadlines or to collaborate more effectively with a team member on a project, it’s vital to make sure that you both understand what the issue is, how to address it, what success looks like, what needs to be done, by who, and by when to achieve it.

Next, directly own and express your frustration with what you see to be the problem. For example, you might say, “I know you are not intentionally missing deadlines, and now I have a clearer understanding of everything on your plate. But when you do miss deadlines, the result is that I have to take on your unfinished work, which causes me to get behind on my projects. I often feel frustrated by this.”

Finally, ask if the other person would be open to trying new strategies to address the issue. A better approach may be, “Based on our conversation, let’s try to agree to a mutual set of objectives and then brainstorm how we might develop a strategy to achieving those goals. “

In all cases, seek to demonstrate empathy and work towards a mutual commitment around a goal. From there, you can brainstorm and agree on some concrete next steps.

Regularly track and measure progress. 

You’ve heard of the importance of leaving a paper trail. The lesson is the same, but we don’t use paper often. Ensure you get the agreed-upon plan in writing so it can be revisited if there are any questions about what was initially decided. Don’t just set it and forget it. Determine what communication tools you will use to check in on progress.

The above documents will help you identify what’s working and what’s not over some time, as well as course-correct as needed.

Pleading for more accountability isn’t the answer to your problem.

Anyone can express frustration around an issue, but those who harness self-awareness and empathy find practical solutions and build winning teams and colleagues for life. If you want to be a next-level leader or peer, one that people want to work with, shift your mindset and practice these five steps. You’ll drive better results, more impactful change, and reduce frustration.

Don’t Require People To Have Solutions When They Bring You Their Problems – What To Do Instead

I’ve said it

You may have said it

You probably had it said to you.

It goes like this:

The boss proudly says: “I have an open-door policy!” And then they state, “Feel free to bring your problems to me, but bring a solution with it.”

Sounds good?

We believe we are creating high employee engagement.

We think we are encouraging creative thinking.

We hope we are developing future leaders.


What is wrong with that?

What if our high-minded, forward-looking leadership ideas are shutting people down?

Read more about words that shut you down

Let’s pull his apart:

First, you announced an ‘open-door policy, BUT’ … ‘but’ tells the listener that you do not mean what you just said. It implies there are conditions.

Then you say you want people to bring you their problems with the qualifications they need to get solutions.

If they had solutions, they wouldn’t need you to help figure it out.

You may very well have shut down all the people who are too afraid to bring problems to you because they don’t have a solution to recommend.

Having people come to your office is a demonstration of the power you have over them.

A better approach is to not hide behind your desk; narrow the power differential by going to them, to their workplace, so you can see what is going on.

Ask open-ended questions, like what is going on? Do you understand where your work fits into the company? Is there anything getting in the way of you meeting your objectives?

Read more about asking the right questions

What Does This Look Like?

I had an employee who made a series of small and seemingly insignificant requests whenever I stopped by his work site.

With each request, I listened and took it under advisement.

And I either addressed his suggestion or responded as to why I couldn’t.

Read more about building trust

Over time, we established a high level of confidence.

Eventually, he mentioned that a piece of equipment was being misused and offered a solution that saved over $50,000 in the first year.

He was a good employee and worked in another location than I did.

He’d seen bosses come and go and had no reason to trust that I would ever have fixed anything.

So, the odds of him walking into my office to share his ideas were slim to nil.

So, tell me something: how would my ‘bring me solutions, not problems’ speech work out?