My perspective has changed over the years on how I should spend my thirty days on the job. When I was a young manager, I thought I had to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact or change. While some of those situations did require swift action, my approach would be different today. In those days, I would have gone in and made changes to staff, restructure, bring in new people and go from there.
I would not do that today. With experience, I learned the best thing to do in the first 30 days is to listen and observe. Initially, I set up a meeting time with each executive committee member and get to know them. After these meetings, I would meet with each manager and then employees in small groups or one on one.
In addition, when I was at the University, I met with every full faculty member. So why did I do this?
Understand the Culture
I felt I needed to understand the culture. I need to understand what each person loved about working for the company. I asked what they saw were challenges or weaknesses. It gave me time to get to know them individually. It helped me learn about the talents and strengths of the organization. As a result, I appreciated the years of experience, their passion, and the effort they had given to the organization. Is that all I did during the first 30 days? No of course not, but I listened, I learned, I began to build trust. The investment of this time is priceless.
In addition, if you have remote locations, it is critical to include them in visits and these types of conversations. You will be surprised what this investment of time and in people will pay off. You may think you do not have the time, but quite frankly if you do not make the time, you will waste time, energy, and resources.
The point of this blog today, it to help you not make simple mistakes as I have seen from other leaders. I have personally seen new manager’s come into an organization and not appreciate the culture and not take the time to get to know the people who built the organization. The consequences were always disastrous for the person and the organization.