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.