4 Steps a New CEO Takes when Joining a Company

by Greg Skloot
Leadership Team   |   4 Min Read
new ceo

Having a new CEO join the team is a big deal. It can rattle the leadership team, result in departures and new strategy. This creates anxiety for everyone, because we are all eager to understand the new CEO’s intentions and work style. When a new CEO joins the team, the process looks something like this:

1. Take inventory of the business and people

A new CEO is going to spend a ton of time meeting with employees (if it is a startup, then likely every single employee) to get their perspective on the company, what’s working and what’s not. They will be assembling a constantly growing to-do lists of all areas of the company that need work.

To help get our new CEO up to speed, I just exported all of my team’s status reports from our Weekly Update tool for the last few months and gave him a great set of weekend reading. This gave him true insight into what his newly inherited team was accomplishing (and not accomplishing).

2. Identify quick wins

As the new CEO makes that list, s/he can start finding quick win changes to go after. This might include working with the leadership team to establish clear goals for the next quarter if they don’t yet exist, or changing an employee policy that the team universally dislikes.

Shorter meetings. Real accountability.
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3. Fix communication and collaboration gaps

Often when executive teams are not high performing, the issues are rooted in poor communication. A strong CEO will put proper processes in place, like proper executive meetings and written weekly status updates. The new CEO will coach the leadership team towards adopting these processes.

4. Remove toxic people

Finally, there are often a handful of people that should no longer be on the team — they are bitter, burnt out or perhaps just have always been low performing. The mark of a good incoming CEO is to quickly identify those people and respectfully end their time at the company.

Ultimately, a new CEO does not mean a clean house (i.e. a totally new leadership team).

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