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What 3 Actions Can Drive Success For a New CEO?

What 3 Actions Can Drive Success For a New CEO?

"New CEOs face a critical strategic choice. Should they settle into the job, spend a year or more getting to know their businesses, and then start leadership, effectivenessshifting the portfolio? Or is it better to act quickly and boldly early on to divert resources from mature activities to a new generation of corporate opportunities?" This key question is the subject of a recent survey by McKinsey, which will be of interest to CEOs everywhere.

In their article, much data is presented that lead to the finding: "Moving early to reconfigure the business portfolio and top-management team improves corporate performance and the odds for a lengthy tenure."

When a new leader is brought on board, the entire organization is poised for change. Waiting too long often creates a wide-spread impression that nothing is going to change. Moving too quickly, without having taken action first to obtain information and data that provides a clear context for change, often creates the impression that the new leader is making snap judgments and doesn't care to find out what others know and recommend.

How can a new leader determine the right time, early, to begin driving a shift in resources, changes in staff, and set direction for the business?

We recommend the following 3 steps for a new CEO to drive success:

1. Obtain data using outside sources to assess effectiveness of the company's value proposition its competitive advantage. What is the unique difference that drives customers to buy from this company? How long will that unique difference be effective in our fast-changing business environment? Who are the key competitors and what are their strategies? Obtaining this data for review and discussion with the executive team is essential.

2. Meet with the executive team, their teams, and the workforce to introduce yourself and let them know what they can expect from you as their new leader, and that you'll be obtaining their input as you move forward to set a path for an exciting future.

3. Complete an organization assessment to determine where the company is now in terms of its readiness and capability to execute its current strategy.  An effective strategic assessment, such as our Line-of-Sight assessment, is a tool that you can use with your executive team and, subsequently, with the entire enterprise.  Whichever tool you choose, we recommend that it be quick and easy for people to complete and that it measure 6 key components for strategic performance:

  1. Strategic Understanding
  2. Leadership
  3. Balanced Metrics
  4. Activities and Structure
  5. Human Capital
  6. Market Discipline

Taking these three actions, a CEO can, in just months, equip him/herself and the organization with the knowledge, information and insights that are critical to driving the right changes at the right time. Following these 3 steps will gather essential data and information from external sources as well as engaging your executives and in fact your workforce in providing information that, combined, sets the context for effective change.

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Rosanna Nadeau is the Principal/Consultant with Prism Perspectives Group, LLC. Focusing on improving organization performance, PPG delivers results through uncommon tools and consulting approaches, as a partner with leaders from initial consultation through solution implementation and measurement. PPG provides employee and management development programs (see and H.R. Management services (see To receive the free monthly newsletter or obtain more information visit or send email to

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