Every year the Executive Search Practice at Prospectus recruits a significant number of chief executives for a wide range of organisations in the beyond profit sector. Through this rich experience and unique insight we continue to see how important the first 100 days of a new chief executive’s tenure with an organisation is; that is why we are so pleased to support the second edition of The Chief Executive’s First 100 Days.
100 days is a very short time. Therefore, the time between being appointed and taking up the role is crucial in terms of getting to know your new organisation and its key stakeholders better. This will enable you to be more effective when joining.
No matter how well you have researched the organisation beforehand, there will always be surprises and things that were not quite what you expected or were told. Is the strategy fit for purpose? Is the board genuinely engaged? How strong and suitably skilled is the leadership team. How about the finances; is the funding or income base as solid as you were led to believe?
For first time chief executives, the experience of reporting to a chair and a board rather than a leader working in the same organisation will be a new experience. What are their expectations of you, and how do you get the most out of them? Building positive relationships starts when you are appointed and the first 100 days is critical to ensure a strong foundation for when you begin influencing the strategy and its implementation beyond this period. It is inevitable that your leadership and communication style and needs will be very different from your predecessor. This will have implications for the board, leadership team and wider organisation. How will you and they deal with this?
In our work at Prospectus, we see that boards of beyond profit organisations are more open to hiring chief executives from outside the sector. This is positive in that organisations are more focused on securing the talent they need to be successful from all sectors, but this also means that the new chief executive will in most cases have a bigger learning curve.
You may be surprised to know that what I often hear from new chief executives is that they were unprepared for how lonely the job can be. You have no peers in the organisation. Have you thought about what support you need, both personally and professionally, to enable you to be successful? Mentoring can be an excellent tool to support a new chief executive in that critical phase and beyond.
At Prospectus we have a partnership approach to executive search. Our success is intrinsically linked to the success of the organisations we support and the chief executives they appoint. This publication is an excellent road map to new chief executives as well as those aspiring to become one.
You can find out more information on the The Chief Executive’s First 100 Days on the ACEVO website.