How long for executive to get up to speed?

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Meaty
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How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Meaty » Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:55 pm

I took the leap and recently started a C suite job at a new company. While they’ve been great, I’m definitely feeling overwhelmed. Mostly, I’m trying to get up to speed with the various efforts they want me aligned to, learning the culture, meeting the team and other key contacts, trying to figure out what I don’t know while also formulating a strategy for my group, etc.

Any thoughts on how long I have to get to the point of high functioning? It’s the financial services industry if that helps.
"Discipline equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink

fabdog
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by fabdog » Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:02 pm

Have you created a plan for your first 90 days? What you need to do, plan to do, what things you must get done... what are the important metrics you own? Do you understand what your unit does? key players/partners?

And reviewed that with your boss?

That should help you define what it takes to get up to speed along with helpful milestones along the way...

Just feeling your way thru it it not likely to lead to success....

Mike

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Meaty
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Meaty » Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:15 pm

fabdog wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:02 pm
Have you created a plan for your first 90 days? What you need to do, plan to do, what things you must get done... what are the important metrics you own? Do you understand what your unit does? key players/partners?

And reviewed that with your boss?

That should help you define what it takes to get up to speed along with helpful milestones along the way...

Just feeling your way thru it it not likely to lead to success....

Mike
Fair point and I’ll work to put one together. I haven’t been given any goals or metrics yet. I’ve got some ideas; I’ll put pen to paper and get feedback
"Discipline equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink

edge
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by edge » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:11 pm

2-3 months before you need to start making changes/impact.

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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Meaty » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:13 pm

edge wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:11 pm
2-3 months before you need to start making changes/impact.
That’s reassuring. I’m a little over a week in and feel like I should be further ahead. I hate feeling like I’m not sure what the right choice is.
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Hubris » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:26 pm

I’d think about something like assessment & discovery in days 0-30, plan formulation and gathering feedback on the plan days 30-60, then hit short term goals/low hanging fruit/stupid problem fixing both along the way and days 60-90. Also, keep people informed of the process and the results and be working on medium & long term goals in days 60-90 and further out.

Also, maybe read “The First 90 Days” by Watkins.

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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Trader Joe » Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:06 pm

Meaty wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:55 pm
I took the leap and recently started a C suite job at a new company. While they’ve been great, I’m definitely feeling overwhelmed. Mostly, I’m trying to get up to speed with the various efforts they want me aligned to, learning the culture, meeting the team and other key contacts, trying to figure out what I don’t know while also formulating a strategy for my group, etc.

Any thoughts on how long I have to get to the point of high functioning? It’s the financial services industry if that helps.
30 days maximum.

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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by AlphaLess » Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:08 pm

Meaty wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:55 pm
I took the leap and recently started a C suite job at a new company. While they’ve been great, I’m definitely feeling overwhelmed. Mostly, I’m trying to get up to speed with the various efforts they want me aligned to, learning the culture, meeting the team and other key contacts, trying to figure out what I don’t know while also formulating a strategy for my group, etc.

Any thoughts on how long I have to get to the point of high functioning? It’s the financial services industry if that helps.
Q: do you have domain-specific experience?

In my experience, position that high has about 6 months to deliver some strategic initiatives. Often, it is not clear what those are.
"A Republic, if you can keep it". Benjamin Franklin. 1787. | Party affiliation: Vanguard. Religion: low-cost investing.

stan1
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by stan1 » Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:22 pm

With COVID it seems like you and everyone else would be starting over on Day 1.

Hard to believe you didn't make impactful decisions already? How did you do?

At one job the day I arrived we laid off 10% of the workforce (10 out of about 100 people). A few of my senior staff came in with a list they'd prepared since there wasn't an acting manager (long story). I thanked them and then asked them to explain why they made their choices. They did, and I went along with it not being able to do anything else. You know what? They were right.

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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by muffins14 » Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:44 pm

Meaty wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:15 pm
fabdog wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:02 pm
Have you created a plan for your first 90 days? What you need to do, plan to do, what things you must get done... what are the important metrics you own? Do you understand what your unit does? key players/partners?

And reviewed that with your boss?

That should help you define what it takes to get up to speed along with helpful milestones along the way...

Just feeling your way thru it it not likely to lead to success....

Mike
Fair point and I’ll work to put one together. I haven’t been given any goals or metrics yet. I’ve got some ideas; I’ll put pen to paper and get feedback

I would assume you are not going to be told what to do. Always assume you should be able to come up with your own problems, goals, milestones, etc and socialize and iterate on them with your stakeholders

Stick5vw
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Stick5vw » Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:33 pm

Congrats on the new role.

I’d say 3-4 months max, but it depends on what type of role you have and indeed the culture of the organization. First 90 Days is a good read.

Before you took the job, they didn’t ask you to sketch out any observations or suggested changes etc? In numerous interview situations (also in financial services FWIW) I’ve been asked to present a draft strategic plan where a lot of ideas would have been put on the table before Day 1. I’m guessing that didn’t happen for you but depending on your stakeholders, there could be an expectation for you to start discussing pretty quickly that you are working on, issues & opportunities you see, and progress you are making. You may need to demonstrate some activity and achieve some “easy wins” sooner rather than later.

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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Meaty » Tue Apr 14, 2020 5:15 am

AlphaLess wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:08 pm
Meaty wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:55 pm
I took the leap and recently started a C suite job at a new company. While they’ve been great, I’m definitely feeling overwhelmed. Mostly, I’m trying to get up to speed with the various efforts they want me aligned to, learning the culture, meeting the team and other key contacts, trying to figure out what I don’t know while also formulating a strategy for my group, etc.

Any thoughts on how long I have to get to the point of high functioning? It’s the financial services industry if that helps.
Q: do you have domain-specific experience?

In my experience, position that high has about 6 months to deliver some strategic initiatives. Often, it is not clear what those are.
Yes, quite a bit of experience in this industry but this specific role is different than what I’ve been directly exposed to in the past. That was well understood during the many rounds of interviews.
"Discipline equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink

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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Meaty » Tue Apr 14, 2020 5:17 am

Stick5vw wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:33 pm
Congrats on the new role.

I’d say 3-4 months max, but it depends on what type of role you have and indeed the culture of the organization. First 90 Days is a good read.

Before you took the job, they didn’t ask you to sketch out any observations or suggested changes etc? In numerous interview situations (also in financial services FWIW) I’ve been asked to present a draft strategic plan where a lot of ideas would have been put on the table before Day 1. I’m guessing that didn’t happen for you but depending on your stakeholders, there could be an expectation for you to start discussing pretty quickly that you are working on, issues & opportunities you see, and progress you are making. You may need to demonstrate some activity and achieve some “easy wins” sooner rather than later.
No, they didn’t ask for me to put a plan together during any of the interview rounds (multiple day events). I’ve identified some things already that fall into the “easy win” category and have buy in from my directs (it was through conversation with them these items became apparent).
"Discipline equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink

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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Meaty » Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:16 am

Hubris wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:26 pm
I’d think about something like assessment & discovery in days 0-30, plan formulation and gathering feedback on the plan days 30-60, then hit short term goals/low hanging fruit/stupid problem fixing both along the way and days 60-90. Also, keep people informed of the process and the results and be working on medium & long term goals in days 60-90 and further out.

Also, maybe read “The First 90 Days” by Watkins.
I went with
0-30: establish relationships, seek to understand key priorities/current deliverables, identify opportunities
31-60: ID continued learning, goals/metrics, partner with stakeholders on early opportunities
61-90: articulate vision, drive goals, strengthen relationships, develop action plan for early opportunities

Open to feedback
"Discipline equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink

megabad
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by megabad » Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:30 am

Not in your field right now but I would say typically you get the first month to get your feet under you and then expectations are probably pretty high. Not sure if Covid 19 has changed that. I am not c suite but my first management position was over about 100 people and they gave me about a month before they expected detailed business and staffing plans. I used the time to get to know my team. I had to start delegating but I didn’t know what folks skills were since I didn’t hire any of them. At 30 days in, it was pretty clear who was indispensable and who wasn’t. I just started delegating and relying on these people to support my upward reporting. In my industry, if you don’t know what you are talking about a few months in, your contract will not be renewed.

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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by AlphaLess » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:25 am

Meaty wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 5:15 am
AlphaLess wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:08 pm
Meaty wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:55 pm
I took the leap and recently started a C suite job at a new company. While they’ve been great, I’m definitely feeling overwhelmed. Mostly, I’m trying to get up to speed with the various efforts they want me aligned to, learning the culture, meeting the team and other key contacts, trying to figure out what I don’t know while also formulating a strategy for my group, etc.

Any thoughts on how long I have to get to the point of high functioning? It’s the financial services industry if that helps.
Q: do you have domain-specific experience?

In my experience, position that high has about 6 months to deliver some strategic initiatives. Often, it is not clear what those are.
Yes, quite a bit of experience in this industry but this specific role is different than what I’ve been directly exposed to in the past. That was well understood during the many rounds of interviews.
Ok. Then it should be a little bit more obvious what your expected contributions are.

In general, in my experience, those are hashed out during the interview process, and posts-interview sell process.

There are specific reasons why they hire you, and those become obvious during the interview, and post-interview, and post-start.

Good to find out those sooner than later.
"A Republic, if you can keep it". Benjamin Franklin. 1787. | Party affiliation: Vanguard. Religion: low-cost investing.

anon3838
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by anon3838 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:26 am

OP,

IME, some of the best leaders have had these nagging feelings in their executive roles.

If you leverage those feelings to be curious to understand what your team and the business are doing, and the pain points that could make things better, that may bring a lot of value to the org. And you’ll probably build some trust and credibility with your peers, directs, and broader team, along the way.

1. Listen and ask questions to understand
2. Feedback and suggestions from bottom to top
3. Identify areas of focus for different time periods (30, 60, 90 days)
4. Work with your team to create a strategy based on your findings
5. Communicate this strategy and build programs / initiatives around it

Good luck and congrats on the role.

jwasilko
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by jwasilko » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:52 am

A friend suggested this when I made a change:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1422188612/
The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded

It's a good read.

Stick5vw
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Stick5vw » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:39 am

Meaty wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:16 am
Hubris wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:26 pm
I’d think about something like assessment & discovery in days 0-30, plan formulation and gathering feedback on the plan days 30-60, then hit short term goals/low hanging fruit/stupid problem fixing both along the way and days 60-90. Also, keep people informed of the process and the results and be working on medium & long term goals in days 60-90 and further out.

Also, maybe read “The First 90 Days” by Watkins.
I went with
0-30: establish relationships, seek to understand key priorities/current deliverables, identify opportunities
31-60: ID continued learning, goals/metrics, partner with stakeholders on early opportunities
61-90: articulate vision, drive goals, strengthen relationships, develop action plan for early opportunities

Open to feedback

Meaty: what part of the financial services sector are you in? eg banking, insurance, wealth mgmt etc. And what type of role? Maybe we could try and be a bit more specific if we knew the type of job (though your plan above seems generally sensible).

Spindrift
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Spindrift » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:07 am

OP, a few quick thoughts and for background I am recently retired from the C-Suite (C-level at my last few firms):

1) 90 day plan: As mentioned in several posts above...Absolutely vital to have this. You should have enough info from the interview process and initial discussions with your boss and others to construct an outline and timeline of a 90 day plan. Review this with your boss to tweak and finalize the action items. This will ensure alignment between you and your boss. This is critical!! You do not want any surprises in your 90 day or 180 day review. Maintaining alignment is critical!!!

2) Also mentioned above, you should spend much of the first 30 days meeting with and listening to C-Suite members, cross-functional leaders, and direct reports. More time listening than talking for sure. Be a sponge in this period. You should be able to identify several "low hanging fruit" items in this period.

3) You should begin making an impact in the 30-90 day period. Posts above referencing not making an impact until the 90 day mark are ill-advised IMHO. Start grabbing that low hanging fruit no later than day 31. If you make no impact in the first 90 days I assure you that there will be people in C-Suite questioning if you were the right hire. Firms expect a C-Suite hire to hit the ground running very quickly and the honeymoon period is fairly short. I'm not saying to be an A-hole out of the gate. I'm saying learn the landscape, kill all with kindness, and always treat all with respect. But make sure that your boss and your reports are aligned with your vision, and act fast to begin making necessary changes and implementing the strategy. They can be small steps but they need to be taken relatively quick.

Spindrift
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Spindrift » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:14 am

Just to clarify...do the 90 plan immediately. I typically would prepare my 90 day plan before my start date. Then I would make some tweaks after week 1 and review with CEO at start of week 2. You need to make sure that you're focusing on the right things immediately.

Murgatroyd
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Murgatroyd » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:19 am

Spindrift wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:07 am
OP, a few quick thoughts and for background I am recently retired from the C-Suite (C-level at my last few firms):

1) 90 day plan: As mentioned in several posts above...Absolutely vital to have this. You should have enough info from the interview process and initial discussions with your boss and others to construct an outline and timeline of a 90 day plan. Review this with your boss to tweak and finalize the action items. This will ensure alignment between you and your boss. This is critical!! You do not want any surprises in your 90 day or 180 day review. Maintaining alignment is critical!!!

2) Also mentioned above, you should spend much of the first 30 days meeting with and listening to C-Suite members, cross-functional leaders, and direct reports. More time listening than talking for sure. Be a sponge in this period. You should be able to identify several "low hanging fruit" items in this period.

3) You should begin making an impact in the 30-90 day period. Posts above referencing not making an impact until the 90 day mark are ill-advised IMHO. Start grabbing that low hanging fruit no later than day 31. If you make no impact in the first 90 days I assure you that there will be people in C-Suite questioning if you were the right hire. Firms expect a C-Suite hire to hit the ground running very quickly and the honeymoon period is fairly short. I'm not saying to be an A-hole out of the gate. I'm saying learn the landscape, kill all with kindness, and always treat all with respect. But make sure that your boss and your reports are aligned with your vision, and act fast to begin making necessary changes and implementing the strategy. They can be small steps but they need to be taken relatively quick.
I also have been in this situation. Above is your most complete advice. With one addition. During this initial period you must also be asking penetrating questions in addition to listening.

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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Meaty » Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:53 am

Thanks all for the great advice. I’m reviewing my 90 day plan tomorrow with my boss. Have been asking a ton of questions and have 2 meaningful quick wins identified (and starting to pursue).
"Discipline equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink

SteadyWins
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by SteadyWins » Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:39 am

:dollar
jwasilko wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:52 am
A friend suggested this when I made a change:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1422188612/
The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded

It's a good read.
Just ordered this, thanks.

imfocusedman
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by imfocusedman » Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:59 am

Spindrift wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:07 am
OP, a few quick thoughts and for background I am recently retired from the C-Suite (C-level at my last few firms):

1) 90 day plan: As mentioned in several posts above...Absolutely vital to have this. You should have enough info from the interview process and initial discussions with your boss and others to construct an outline and timeline of a 90 day plan. Review this with your boss to tweak and finalize the action items. This will ensure alignment between you and your boss. This is critical!! You do not want any surprises in your 90 day or 180 day review. Maintaining alignment is critical!!!

2) Also mentioned above, you should spend much of the first 30 days meeting with and listening to C-Suite members, cross-functional leaders, and direct reports. More time listening than talking for sure. Be a sponge in this period. You should be able to identify several "low hanging fruit" items in this period.

3) You should begin making an impact in the 30-90 day period. Posts above referencing not making an impact until the 90 day mark are ill-advised IMHO. Start grabbing that low hanging fruit no later than day 31. If you make no impact in the first 90 days I assure you that there will be people in C-Suite questioning if you were the right hire. Firms expect a C-Suite hire to hit the ground running very quickly and the honeymoon period is fairly short. I'm not saying to be an A-hole out of the gate. I'm saying learn the landscape, kill all with kindness, and always treat all with respect. But make sure that your boss and your reports are aligned with your vision, and act fast to begin making necessary changes and implementing the strategy. They can be small steps but they need to be taken relatively quick.
Thanks for sharing this. Great advice!

Spindrift
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Spindrift » Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:32 am

Murgatroyd wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:19 am
Spindrift wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:07 am
OP, a few quick thoughts and for background I am recently retired from the C-Suite (C-level at my last few firms):

1) 90 day plan: As mentioned in several posts above...Absolutely vital to have this. You should have enough info from the interview process and initial discussions with your boss and others to construct an outline and timeline of a 90 day plan. Review this with your boss to tweak and finalize the action items. This will ensure alignment between you and your boss. This is critical!! You do not want any surprises in your 90 day or 180 day review. Maintaining alignment is critical!!!

2) Also mentioned above, you should spend much of the first 30 days meeting with and listening to C-Suite members, cross-functional leaders, and direct reports. More time listening than talking for sure. Be a sponge in this period. You should be able to identify several "low hanging fruit" items in this period.

3) You should begin making an impact in the 30-90 day period. Posts above referencing not making an impact until the 90 day mark are ill-advised IMHO. Start grabbing that low hanging fruit no later than day 31. If you make no impact in the first 90 days I assure you that there will be people in C-Suite questioning if you were the right hire. Firms expect a C-Suite hire to hit the ground running very quickly and the honeymoon period is fairly short. I'm not saying to be an A-hole out of the gate. I'm saying learn the landscape, kill all with kindness, and always treat all with respect. But make sure that your boss and your reports are aligned with your vision, and act fast to begin making necessary changes and implementing the strategy. They can be small steps but they need to be taken relatively quick.
I also have been in this situation. Above is your most complete advice. With one addition. During this initial period you must also be asking penetrating questions in addition to listening.
Agree 100%! Asking lot's of penetrating questions is also critical. I definitely should have included that in my post.

softwaregeek
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by softwaregeek » Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:08 am

About two months in to my first exec job and starting to get my feet under me now. Harder than I thought due to the pandemic.

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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by 2tall4economy » Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:24 am

Not c suite here but 1 step down in a megacorp.

Done the switch a few times. It’s evolved.

The last one they basically set me up with 1:1 meetings with anyone and everyone I might interact with.

Initially I hated it because it took nearly theee full weeks to finish meeting people and I didn’t have a chance to even vaguely immerse myself in the work I would traditionally do in the role.

But all of the meetings gave me a great set of material to work with to figure out what needed fixing and where the priorities were.

After 3rd week I had a deck that I socialized with my stakeholders and was off to the races.

I delivered small things in 30-45 days and really got into the swing by 90 with multiple initiatives closed out.
You can do anything you want in life. The rub is that there are consequences.

Spindrift
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Re: How long for executive to get up to speed?

Post by Spindrift » Fri Apr 17, 2020 6:56 am

2tall4economy wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:24 am
Not c suite here but 1 step down in a megacorp.

Done the switch a few times. It’s evolved.

The last one they basically set me up with 1:1 meetings with anyone and everyone I might interact with.

Initially I hated it because it took nearly theee full weeks to finish meeting people and I didn’t have a chance to even vaguely immerse myself in the work I would traditionally do in the role.

But all of the meetings gave me a great set of material to work with to figure out what needed fixing and where the priorities were.

After 3rd week I had a deck that I socialized with my stakeholders and was off to the races.

I delivered small things in 30-45 days and really got into the swing by 90 with multiple initiatives closed out.
Your experience sounds very similar to mine. Most firms will automatically set up those critical 1:1's with all cross functional leaders. Very time consuming but a great orientation into any firm. And yes...by day 90 you should be in full stride.

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