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You’ve been through the interview process and landed the executive role of your dreams. So, what now?

Some executives find themselves feeling uncertain about how to tackle those first 90 days in a new role. How do you prove yourself? What’s the best way to hit the ground running?

The first few months are crucial for new executives looking to build solid foundations for a successful leadership. It’s natural to feel pressure to deliver results, but you have to do it in a careful, well-planned way.

Here are our strategies for creating impact in your first 90 days.

Day 1 to 30

The priority in the first 30 days is to spend time with key internal stakeholders of the business and get to know them.

Meet with your team, your peers and many key people as possible across the company. Find out what other divisions or departments of the business think of yours, and vice versa.

Ask lots of questions and show that you genuinely care about your colleagues and about making an impact as a leader.

You’ll quickly be able to get a picture of the company’s strengths and weaknesses.

This introductory period will also be about showcasing who you are. What’s your vision? What do you stand for?

“Really, you’re not going to be making any changes in your first month,” says Executive Interview Coaching founder Richard Elstone.

“What you are looking to do is to meet as many internal stakeholders as you can in your first 30 days to get an idea of the business and for areas where you can improve.

“You have two ears and one mouth and in the first 30 days, you really need to use them in that ratio.”

Richard says it’s important not to fall into the trap of making any changes straight away.

“What you’re looking for is some low-hanging fruit, some quick wins or opportunities for you to make your mark in the next phase,” he says.

“At the end of the day you don’t want to make too many quick decisions because it can actually destroy your credibility.”

Day 30 to 60

By this point, you will have a clearer understanding about some of the challenges facing the business and how you can help. But you need to keep digging.

During the 30-to-60-day period, your attention should be focused primarily on the external stakeholders.

Depending on your industry, you might go see the regulators, your customers, community groups or your suppliers.

Find out what your external stakeholders think of your organisation and where there’s room for improvement.

“From day 30 to 60, you may start implementing some of your quick wins from the first 30 days internally,” says Richard.

“And you should be starting to get a feel for the lay of the land externally.”

Day 60 to 90

Now is the time to develop your medium to longer term strategic plan for the business, considering all the things you’ve learned internally and externally.

What are your goals for the short and longer terms? Try not to over promise. It’s better to be realistic about what you intend to do and how you will do it.

“In that 60-to-90-day period, you’re also going to start to implement some of those quick wins for your clients and external stakeholders,” says Richard.

By the end of the 90 days, you may be asked to make a presentation of your strategic plan to the CEO or the board whilst outlining what your detailed plans are for the ensuing 12 to 24 months.

You’ll need to demonstrate what you’ll be focusing on and why. You may even want to suggest what your KPIs should be, given your strategic plan is agreed and signed off.

“One of the things I’ll often do with my clients is to have a dry run or two of the presentation,” says Richard.

“Because we’re talking things through, we’ll often add loads of detail and nuance to the presentation to bring it to life.”

Tip: Canva Presentations is a handy online tool to create impactful presentations that captivate your audience.

How we can help

Executive Interview Coaching offers advice around common interview questions, like what you would do in your first 90 days in an executive role.

We can help you finetune your answers, feel confident during the executive interview process and optimise your chances of success.

To see if you’re ready, take our executive checklist. Simply answer a couple of quick questions about your career and get instant feedback to enhance your interview performance.

To find out more, please get in touch.


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