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November 3, 2016

The First 100 Days in a New Job

Summary:

It is crucial to seize that window because, culturally, the newcomer has credibility and deference not usually afforded to existing employees.

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The term “the first 100 days” was coined in a July 24, 1933, radio address by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was referring to the 100-day session of the 73rd United States Congress between March 9 and June 17, 1933.

As a board member, I think it is a great idea for a new CEO to think in a similar fashion and prepare a memo outlining what he/she will be doing for the first 100 days of the new job. The first 100 days is the time when the new CEO determines the culture of the organization, gets his/her arms around the finances and the budget and determines who has what skills and experience to help lead the organization and who he/she can rely upon to achieve the goals set by the board. There are several books on the market outlining the steps a new CEO should take in his or her first 100 days.

See also: Insurance CEOs See Wave of Disruption  

As a parallel to the first 100 days concept for the president of the U.S., when one starts a new job with a new company, the culture tends to give the person a level of credibility and deference from leaders in the organization that is not usually afforded to existing employees. I call it Teflon. For me, the game was to retain the Teflon beyond the first 100 days, or to work on my “Teflon renewal process.” I would do that by outlining my goals and expectations in a 100-day memo — and then I would achieve the goals set out in that document.

Every time I was promoted, got a new boss, was involved in a restructuring or saw my role changed, I would prepare a memo for my boss (and myself) outlining my plans for the first 100 days. The document outlined my 100-day goals as well as my mid-term and long-term goals for my department. It also provided insight into my key performance indicators and into the strengths and weaknesses of the team.

The memo outlined my expectations for what I would accomplish as well as the expectations of what I needed from my people to accomplish the goals. More importantly, the memo got me into the habit of doing what I needed do on a daily basis for me to be successful in my new role. This memo also resulted in establishing the way in which I would communicate with my boss.

As a best practice, I recommend everyone consider preparing such a document when they get a new job or role. I also recommend that, as a manager or supervisor, you ask your employees to outline their goals and expectations in their own 100-day document.

See also: CEOs Defy Common Sense on Wellness

Now all I have to do is to prepare my 100-day plan for when I am at home — I need some Teflon with the wife.

Here is an article that provides some detail on how to produce a 100-day action plan for a CEO.

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About the Author

William Zachry has been the vice president of risk management for Safeway (the third largest retail grocery company in the U.S.) since 2001. He oversees Safeway’s nationwide self-insured, self-administered workers’ compensation program of 11 locations with 125 claims staff.

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