In an ideal situation, a new CEO comes into a previously well-run organization without controversy or problems. But sometimes a previous leader has left under less than favorable circumstances. It is important for you, as the new leader, to take charge of the issues you inherit.
If your organization faces personnel problems, work with your human resources department to resolve them.
If your organization faces financial problems, it is important to delay any unnecessary spending until expenditures can be aligned against the new goals you will bring forward.
Work with your chief financial officer to get a handle on your profit and loss statement. Review departmental expenditures and plans. What problems are built into your finances and what can be done to resolve them? If deep problems exist, communicate to your superiors what you have discovered. Seek their advice.
Throughout your first days, seek early wins. Build momentum. Be open to people. Keep listening and communicating.
Unless you work for a very small organization, you will not be able to talk to each of your employees every day. That is particularly true if you are holding meetings with stakeholders outside of the station. It is a good idea to begin to communicate via email some of the things that you are learning. Begin to slowly communicate your vision for how the station will get better. Your vision doesn’t have to be fully baked at this stage, just lay out some of your thoughts. Ask for feedback.
Actions speak louder than memos, but you also want to begin to share your management style. It might be as simple as how you like to treat and interact with people and how you want people to deal with you.
It will be important to develop a rapport with all employees. This probably starts with an all-staff meeting. People will want to get to know the real person that sits in front of them. They will have seen your bio, but share some of the things you want to accomplish and how you will go about doing it. Let them see the excitement you have for the job.
First impressions matter.
Make sure that you listen more than talk.
Set aside one-on-one time with your direct reports.
Meet regularly with your board’s leadership or appointing body.
Starting a new job as a manager can be overwhelming. In public media there are lots of regulations and rules to follow. That’s why I wrote THE PUBLIC MEDIA MANAGER’S HANDBOOK. It is designed to help new managers and aspiring managers be better prepared for the tasks ahead. It deals with everything from FCC regulations, to the role of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as well as practical managerial advice (This post is an adaptation of the introduction).
As we approach the holiday season, I am making a special offer to my readers. If you purchase a copy of the handbook and send me your receipt you will be entitled to a FREE 30 minute private consultation with me about any subject that interests you or a problem you are dealing with. In addition, I will send you a free copy of my e-book “Managing Through and Out of the Coronavirus pandemic.
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