Prepare your CEO for the first 100 Days


If a board is well prepared the selection of a new CEO will signal the end of a long and comprehensive executive search process. However, it is just the start of a whole new process during which the new chief executive is acclimatised to the role. This period, usually a few days, is a crucial time for the business as well as the CEO as multiple first impressions are made and the longevity of the relationship is established. Boards that suitably prepare the CEO in an orderly and comprehensive way are more likely to see fruitful results from the relationship.

In order to optimize the success of the new CEO, one needs to go further than orientation over a few days, and create an on-boarding programme that spans at least 100 days to ensure the new leader of the organization has the best possible opportunity to excel. The following five actions may prevent future disruptions, accelerate transition and reduce uncertainty during the initial phase of their leadership:

  1. Align

Although this would have been discussed at length during the acquisition process, take time to reiterate the organisation’s purpose, priorities and goals. And align the CEO’s proposed strategies with the organisational culture and values.

 Formalise the CEO evaluation process at the outset

Linking back to our first point, it is important to be crystal clear on objectives in order to establish formal milestones and targets. Clarity and transparency are essential as they allow everyone to find their footing and gather the resources needed to deliver results.

 Promote teamwork

A new CEO can often feel like a lone wolf, eager to make an impact, or prove that their individual contribution is significant. This can often lead to early alienation while simultaneously wasting the resources within the c-suite team. Collaboration and cohesion is essential for long-term success. If a new CEO tries to be the hero and take on more than they can manage, they become distracted from their primary role – which is directing strategy and growth.

 Watch the Brand.

High profile companies will have all eyes on them as they onboard a new CEO. The company will be open to scrutiny which places it in a vulnerable position. A confident, outward appearance is vital to the success of the new partnership to prevent investors losing confidence and to ensure stakeholders remain positive and engaged.

Look Forward

Ongoing development, succession plans and growth strategies all need to be part of the on-boarding process. While it may seem counter intuitive to be focusing so far ahead right at the outset, one cannot truly compartmentalize the transition process. Long-term vision needs to inform every part of the business operations and the CEO needs to understand the potential and opportunities available to them and the organisation in order to establish a clear strategy for moving forward. The on-boarding process is futile if it is seen in isolation without a plan of action to follow it.

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*Written By Sarah Mason, Digital Strategist at Business Essentials