Here’s the unfortunate fact: most new leaders don’t deliver on expectations.

Regardless of whether we’re talking about the next president of the United States, a new division head, or the most-recently-appointed head of a team, it’s very probable that the new leader won’t deliver the goods as expected or hoped.

But you can be avoid this problem. Just remember my 100-Day Rule.

I believe that each of us have a kind of “honeymoon period” whenever we start anew. Based on my reviews, regardless of how you get the new job – promoted, moved, shifted, hired, or elected – most of those who helped you get it will have their hopes up. They want to see you make a difference. And, additionally, most of those you’ll be overseeing probably want you to do well, too. In fact, with the possible exception of someone who didn’t get the job because you did, most of the individuals you come into contact with in your new role are going to have great expectations of your doing better than the last person.

And that’s Good News – Bad News. It’s like this: if you don’t show some real change or momentum very quickly, then the naysayers start coming out of the woodwork. And “very quickly” is at the longest about 100 days. About 3 months. And then, you’re not new anymore. When you’re new, you can capitalize on the good will and immediate positive feelings. That allows you to move with greater speed, running into fewer obstacles than otherwise will be the case.

After your honeymoon period, how you did coming out of the gates will greatly impact how you’re treated by everyone else.

If the rest of the organization views you as a winner, a doer, and a mover and shaker, you’ll find the sailing ahead to be pretty good. People will meet with you. They’ll listen when you speak in meetings. They’ll know that you’re going places. And they’ll want to be onside.

On the other hand, if the rest of the organization sees you as someone who can’t get things done, you’ll find it less easy to accomplish things. I don’t mean that people will be obstructionist neccessarily, just that you’ll be treated as “just another” leader with needs and problems like the rest. It will be harder to get the attention of the gang upstairs. You’ll have a little less clout.

So, take my advice: Come in and make a difference fast. Show everyone that you’re a winner. And then have a more successful career after your first 100 Days.

And FYI – this works for your personal life too. If you’re getting married, joining a new club, moving into a new neighborhood, how you do in the first 100 days will have a huge impact on your success in the next coming years.


Leadership Coach