Your First One Hundred Days: Measure or Myth

Moving to a New Role or Company: Your First 100 Days


first 100 daysI’m currently working with a number of clients who have one thing in common. They are in the early days of a new role and want to do well. More than that, they want to make an impact. It’s an interesting and a vulnerable place to be, and it’s got me thinking about the concept of the ‘first 100 days’.

Does all the hoo-hah around these first three months in a new role reflect a genuine expectation? Or is it a myth created by leadership gurus and authors?

Let’s start by looking at where this concept came from. In Franklin Roosevelt’s first 100 days in office he made sweeping changes and implemented big projects. The most notably of these was the New Deal. It’s since been widely adopted as a measure to judge leadership performance. It’s become a standard in management thinking, and spawned hundreds of thousands of books and articles.

Organisation and Culture Impact the First 100 Days


Whether the pressure of the first 100 days to instigate big change is real or not is down to the individual organisation. Many senior leaders are brought in to make changes – that is their role, after all. Yet some organisations are too big and complex for rapid action. A new leader will need to get a feel for the company, its culture and the consequences of change before doing anything major.

My clients are certainly feeling the pressure. They want to prove they are the right person for the role and show that the faith put in them is deserved. Does that need to be accomplished within 100 days? Perhaps not, but the first months in a new role are certainly an opportunity to make a positive impression and lay a meaningful foundation for the future.

Have you felt under time pressure to perform in a new role?