Statistics show that almost 50% of new leaders will fail in their role within the first 18 months. In order to avoid the high cost of these failures, it’s critically important to onboard new leaders with the best action plan for success.
There is a list of best practices for onboarding new leaders and the first one is creating a 90 day action plan for new leaders. But how do you create a successful plan and what key components should be included? Create a new leader 90 day plan with the following elements, adapted from Michael Watkins book “The First 90 Days”, to put your new leaders on the path to achieving their goals and assimilating into the company culture effectively.
UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE AND PHASES OF NEW LEADER ONBOARDING
The purpose of creating a new leader onboarding plan is to clarify your highest impact areas, focus your efforts, establish goals to help drive results and plan accordingly. It’s also helpful to understand the 3 phases of the 90 day outline and what should be accomplished during each stage.
Phase 1 – Discovery: Focuses on accelerated learning and establishing relationships with key stakeholders and your team (days 1-14).
Phase 2 – Diagnosis: Centers on the analysis and review of all information required to build the revised strategy, plan, structure, culture, operations, etc. (days 15-65).
Phase 3 – Direction: Concentrates on communication and implementation of the plans (days 66-90).
Now identify your objectives and what you want to accomplish in terms of your role, team members, stakeholders, operations, etc. during the 3 phases over the first 90 days. For example, some of your objectives may include: clarifying roles and expectations with key team members and stakeholders, understanding and influencing the budget, participating in the company’s realignment, developing process improvements in key areas, etc.
OUTLINE INFORMATION NEEDED
Once your objectives have been established, you can identify the information and key milestones for each phase of the plan to monitor your progress toward your objectives. This will include meeting with key stakeholders, direct reports and team members to listen to their perspective and gain insight on problems and possible solutions; and researching past successes, failures, budgets, plans, processes, etc. to learn what is working and what isn’t.
5 CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR CEO/BOSS
An essential part of any new leader onboarding plan is sitting down with your CEO or boss for these 5 conversations: Situation (how the boss sees the business situation), Expectations (negotiate what is expected of you), Style (how you both can best interact), Resources (negotiate what resources are available to you), and Development (how your tenure in this job contributes to personal development). It helps to use an Executive Coach to help prepare you for the conversations with your boss as well as other aspects of the New Leader Onboarding Plan.
COMPLETE STAKEHOLDER ANALYSIS AND OUTLINE COALITION BUILDING REQUIREMENTS
Once you have gathered your research and information, you can complete your analysis of who needs what, what steps need to be taken and what you will need from other people. This step will focus on what actions you can take to build your team, create alignment to goals, and form coalitions with allies. Then you can turn your attention to communicating and implementing your plan of action once your direction has been established.
The first 90 days are critical to the success of a new leader. While there are many steps to accomplish during this time, onboarding a new leader with a strategic 90 day plan in place will propel him/her towards achieving goals and positive assimilation. Download a sample 90 day plan for new leaders here to help you get started.