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.

The first thing you need to understand is that your job is to achieve the organization’s strategic goals.

As the person holding that position, you will need to 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 huge fan of the 90-day plan, but you better have a sense of what you are going 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 strong leadership tone:

1. Before Day One: First step is to get over yourself and commit to the organization you have chosen to lead. You should devote 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 any on-going legal issues. After confirming that these have been properly addressed, turn your attention to team evaluation, its performance and to team building.

3. Your Boss’ Priorities: Your most important relationship is with the 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 relationships with key individuals, staff, and stakeholders and will serve to build credibility.

Read about using silence to listen better

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

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: By addressing the easy, noncontroversial activities, which can be fixed quickly and successfully will make an important statement about trust and leadership.
  • Get Out: Interacting with colleagues and stakeholders will increase your credibility, but not to the neglect of the business at hand.
  • Communicate: Change is difficult. So, for even the smallest 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 be watching your activities carefully, and perceptions are important. To those watching, time spent on an activity will signal its importance and will 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 begin to craft your plan to lead and achieve our strategic goals and results.