Cindy Novotny

Taking Over as The New Leader


You have just been promoted or taken over a new role as the leader. Before you head in and begin making immediate change, learn the company, learn the culture, learn the team. Take good notes on all your observations of how the current environment and all components involved, effect the bottom lines of the business. I always suggest giving yourself 90 days before you begin implementing your new vision and ideas. The reason being, is you will take five steps forward and three steps back if you jump in too soon.

I usually suggest keeping a journal and writing down everything you question during your first 90 days. At the end of this three-month period, you will have a much more thorough understanding of the organization. Therefore, you will find yourself crossing off half of the items on your list, because now you have more clarity and knowledge about the inner and outer workings of the business. Then, you may begin making changes.

Experts say a new leader has a 50% chance of leaving the organization within 18 months, if they try to implement too much sudden change. Ultimately, leaders should know the direction of the team in the future. However, you need to understand the reasons why you were put in this position, to begin with.

Spend your first 30 days asking questions and listening – really listening! Talk to employees, colleagues and customers. What is working and what needs improvement. If people ask you what your strategic vision is for the organization, don’t be afraid to say, “I am asking, learning and listening now, so ask me in 3 months and I will be happy to share it with you.” To lead your team, you have to get down in the trenches, be part of that team first, observe and become connected! Your goal should always be focused on helping your team soar above the rest, not yourself, as a leader. Get ready to roll your sleeves up!

You have a very short window of time to create dynamic change, so don’t blow it in the first 90 days!