Moving into new roles are crucible events of leadership and some of the toughest challenges people face. Nearly half of new leaders fail in their first 18 months*. Avoid that problem by getting a head start, managing your message, and building your team. Further, know that while people will follow a charismatic leader for a time, they will devote themselves to the cause of a BRAVE leader over time. Those are the underlying premises of this note which itself serves as an overall executive summary of The New Leader's Playbook articles originally published on Forbes.com since February 2011 and woven through two of our books: The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan and First-Time Leader.
Click here for a free executive summary of The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan book.
Our publisher, Wiley, suggested that The New Leader’s Playbook could be printed as traditional book. They said there is a body of knowledge here that can help others accelerate their onboarding and strengthen their own leadership. The choice we’ve made so far is to keep it as a living, ever-evolving thing. At this point, that thing includes over 200 articles and over 150,000 words. It’s too much to read at a sitting. Hence this note – in two parts:
Part I is an executive summary of the main, driving concepts (with links to sections in part II)
Part II is a full list of all the articles in The New Leader’s Playbook sorted by those concepts as much as possible and then from most important to merely interesting. Each entry links to the article on Forbes so you can read more. Then each article on Forbes links back to this page so you can put that article in context and read further.
Webster defines "brave" as having or showing courage – the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. BRAVE is also an acronym for Behaviors, Relationships, Attitudes, Values, and Environment, which together form a framework for brave leadership.
In brief, building from the outside in:
Environment is about the context for your leadership, the change you must respond to, the danger, fear or difficulty into which you and your team must venture, persevere, and withstand. Ask the question, "where to play?" taking into account the business environment, organizational history, and recent results as you drive to clear choices.
Values get at what matters most to you and to your followers. You're going to respond and adapt to the ever-changing world around you; but to what end? Ask "what matters and why?" to get at your purpose and principles.
Attitude involves the choices you make about strategy, posture, and approach. This is the pivot between the environment and values, and relationships and behaviors. Get specific about the answer to the question "how to win?"
Relationships are what happens when you connect with people. Get clear on your message. Then think through how you're going to communicate that message. You can't communicate anything until you connect. So ask "how to connect?"
Behaviors are where the rubber meets the road. Assess your environment, get clear on your values, choose your attitude, build relationships on the way to behaving and driving those few behaviors that will make a meaningful and rewarding impact others. Ask "what impact?" to frame what you do and why.
Net, BRAVE leadership is not about you as the leader. It's about inspiring and enabling others. Apply this framework to your team, remembering that you must lead differently as your team grows.
Questions to consider:
Moment of impact – Manage the message: How to connect?
Follow through – Build the team: What impact?
Prelude: GET A HEAD START
1) Position yourself for success. Start by connecting your values and goals, strengths and communication. Know yourself. Know your audience. Know and deliver your message in your own voice. Leadership is personal. Your message is the key that unlocks personal connections. The greater the congruence between your own values, attitudes, behaviors, the environment you create, and the way you relate to other individuals, the stronger those connections will be. This is why the best messages aren’t crafted; they emerge. Great leaders live their messages not because they can, but because they must. As Martin Luther said at the Diet of Worms in 1521,“Here I stand, I can do no other.”
2) Choose the Right Approach for the Business Context and Culture you Face. Context is a function of the business environment, organizational history and recent business performance, informing the relative importance and urgency of change. Culture underpins “the way we do things here” and is made up of Behaviors, Relationships, Attitudes, Values, and the Environment feeding into readiness for change. Crossing context and culture helps you decide whether to Assimilate, Converge and Evolve (fast or slow), or Shock. Choose your way. Then map contributors, detractors, and convincible watchers so you can move each of them one step by altering their balance of consequences.
3) Embrace and Leverage the Fuzzy Front End Before Day One. The time between acceptance and start is a gift you can use to rest and relax or to get a head start on your new role or next 100-days. Our experience has shown that those who use this fuzzy front end to put a plan in place, complete their pre-start preparation, and jump-start learning and relationships are far more likely to deliver better results faster than those who choose to rest and relax. Five important steps:
- Identify the most important stakeholders up, across, and down – both inside and out.
- Plan your message, fuzzy front end, and first or next 100-days.
- Manage your personal setup so you have less to worry about after you start.
- Conduct pre-start meetings and phone calls to jump-start important relationships.
- Gather information and learning in advance to jump-start learning.
Moments of Impact: MANAGE THE MESSAGE
4) Take Control of Day One: Make a Powerful First Impression. Everything is magnified on Day One, whether it’s your first day in a new company, or the day of a big announcement. Everyone is looking for hints about what you think and what you’re going to do. This is why it’s so important to seed your message by paying particular attention to all the signs, symbols, and stories you deploy, and the order in which you deploy them. Make sure people are seeing and hearing things that will lead them to believe and feel what you want them to believe and feel about you and about themselves in relation to the future of the organization.
5) Motivate and Focus Your Team with Ongoing Communications (including social media). Where the emphasis used to be on logical, sequential, targeted, ongoing communication campaigns, the communication revolution has made it essential to manage multiple, concurrent, ever-evolving conversations across an ever-changing network of stakeholders. Leverage your core message as the foundation for those conversations by seeding and reinforcing communication points through a wide variety of media with no compromises on trustworthiness and authenticity.
Follow-through: BUILD THE TEAM
6) Embed a Burning Imperative. The burning imperative is a sharply defined, intensely shared, and purposefully urgent understanding from each of the team members of what they are “supposed to do, now.” Get this created and bought into early on—even if it’s only 90 percent right. You, and the team, will adjust and improve along the way.
7) Exploit Key Milestones to Drive Team Performance. Milestones map and track what is getting done by when by whom. Leaders of high-performing teams take that basic tool to a whole new level, exploiting it to inspire and enable people to work together as a team!
8) Over-invest in Early Wins to Build Team Confidence. Early wins are all about credibility and confidence. People have more faith in people who have delivered. You want your boss to have confidence in you. You want team members to have confidence in you, in themselves, and in the plan for change that has emerged. Early wins fuel that confidence.
9) Secure ADEPT People in the Right Roles and Deal with Inevitable Resistance. Acquire, Develop, Encourage, Plan, and Transition talent to strengthen the team over time:
- Acquire: Recruit, attract, and onboard the right people
- Develop: Assess and build skills and knowledge
- Encourage: Direct, support, recognize, and reward
- Plan: Monitor, assess, plan career moves over time
- Transition: Migrate to different roles as appropriate
10) Evolve People, Plans, and Practices to Capitalize on Changing Circumstances. By the end of your first or next 100-Days, you should have made significant steps toward aligning your people, plans, and practices around a shared purpose. Remember, this is not a one-time event but, instead, something that will require constant, ongoing management and Darwinian improvement because we're all new leaders all the time.
*As Anne Fisher pointed out in New job? Get a head start now – Fortune, 17-February, 2012, the failure rate for new executives "research shows has stood at about 40% for at least 15 years now" – "About 40% of executives who change jobs or get promoted fail in the first 18 months". (In contrast, over 90% of the executives PrimeGenesis has helped since 2003 were either still in place or promoted at the 18-month point.)
- Executive Onboarding the Key to Accelerating Success and Reducing Risk in a New Job
- The Three Types of Leaders the World Needs Most: Artistic, Scientific, Interpersonal
- Leading in an Age of Decreased Face-To-Face Communication – Ben Zander
- Manage executive onboarding as the crucible of leadership it is – Michael Moniz, Circadence
- Live the Five Most Important Questions for BRAVE Leaders
- Three Things First-Time Leaders Should Know
- Top 100 Ideas and Quotes for First-Time Leaders
- Trying to Manage Millenials? Give Up and Lead Them Instead.
- Five Keys to BRAVE Innovation
- Rebranding? Be like Blue Ribbon Sports (Nike)
- The Single Most Important Secret to Scaling Up an Entrepreneurial Venture
- Driving Growth Across Industries with the What, How and Who Approach
- Three Guidelines for Intel's New CEO – Brian Krzanich
- Where Should A New CEO Focus First – Justin Langseth, Zoomdata
- Where Should You Play: When Theory and Practice Diverge – Daniel Chalef, Knowledge Tree
- How Army Intelligence Techniques Apply To Business Leads
- Your next business challenge solve a problem shared by many
- Want to understand why things are happening? Dig into the details.
- Why You Should Adopt Google's Nested Approach To Office Layout
- Risk and Reward: Does Your CEO Take the Big Bet – Omar Hussain, Imprivata
- Why You Don't Get To Choose Your Mission. It Chooses You.
- Breaking Good: Transcending the Good for Others/Good for Me Trade-off
- Learning from the School of Rock's Community-focused Approach to Inspiring Passion
- Dr. Bridget Duffy puts the "care" back in healthcare
- Lead with a Clear Vision like Essilor does through three separate entities
- Practice What You Preach or Pay The Price – Be Do Say Leadership – Nick Sarillo, Nick's Pizza
- Does Your Organization Need an Attitude Change? – Ralph Dangelmaier, BlueSnap
- Innovation Tips from Richard Branson, John Mackey, Bobbi Brown and others
- Leverage John Kotter's 'Dual Operating System" to Accelerate Change in Large Organizations
- The Number One Reason People Miss Their Goals? Denial.
- How about an app to measure changes in employees' commitment?
- Managing the Evolution of Your Start-Up's Corporate Culture – Rick Rudman, Vocus
- How DHL Instilled a Customer-Focused Mentality Amonst Its Employees
- Three Business Founders Who Gained From Franchising
- The Winning Approach to Customer Service is Just Common Sense
- Want Your New Employees' Personal Commitment? Take Their Onboarding Personally.
- IBM, Ritz-Carlton and Yum! Brands Empower Frontline Employees…Do You? – DeRose, Tichy, Epstein, Shankman, McDonald, Novak
- When Employee Engagement Becomes Counterproductive
- Driving Return On Engagement
- A BRAVE New Approach to Social Media and Community Building
- The New Reality of Social Media: Enaging Your Audience Where They Are
- What Hillary Clinton Needs to Learn from Bill about the Importance of Building Relationships
- Onboarding Options When Face-To-Face Onboarding Is Not An Option
- How The Best Fortune 500 Companies To Work For Drive Appreciation, Access, Rewards
- Three Different Approaches To CEO Succession At Walmart, Kroger and Microsoft…Which Is Best?
- How To Bridge Unanticipated Discontinuities
- The Secret to Resolving Disagreements
- Inspiring and Enabling Evolutionary Innovation — From Middle Managers – Tim Ogilvie, Peer Insight
- For Leaders: Why Getting Too Comfortable is the Path to Discomfort
- Do. Help. Or Get Out of the Way.
- The Return Trip Advantage: A CEO's Perspective of Doing Well by Doing Good – Jim Heppelmann, PTC
- Work Less, Create More Value – The Art of Delegating – Marc Hafer, Simpler Consulting
- Make The Technology Work For Your Or Else…Yaacov Cohen, harmon.ie
- Want to fail fast? Do these three things. – Chris Heivly, Triangle Startup Factory
- Follow Gabrielle Giffords BRAVE Leadership example
- Why Management By Objective Is Unsustainable – Andre Durand, Ping Identity
- Three Essential Questions of Big Data: What? So What? Now What? – Matt Ariker, McKinsey
- Learn from ConAgra's Forecasting Debacle. Switch to Range Forecasting.
- Four Tips For Choosing The Right Business Shortcuts
Prelude: GET A HEAD START
- Top Executive Recruiters Agree There Are Only Three True Job Interview Questions
- Acing the Only Three True Job Interview Questions
- For a Successful Job Search: Solve Someone's Problem
- A BRAVE New Approach to Finding a Job
- How to Turn Rejection Into a Job Offer – Alan Carniol, Interview Success Formula
- New Ford CEO Fields Versus General Motors CEO Barra: Operator Versus Bureaucrat
- Promoted from within: Onboarding Risks for Wal-Mart's New CEO
- Taking Over from the Founder: Three Tips for Zynga's New CEO
- Kroger CEO Transition: No Story Here
- The Three Requirements for Consulting Success per Deloitte CEO Jim Moffatt
- Where you should play – the secret to investing your time and talent for maximum impact and reward – Tim Patrick, Carticept
- Three things to remember when onboarding into a smaller organization – Val Rahmani, Damballa
- Rio Tinto's New CEO: Picking Up the Pieces After Failed Acquisitions
- Lessons From Citibank's New CEO Announcement Cascade – Michael Corbat
- Will Robert Gibbs Find a Friend in Facebook?
- Be Like Zappos’ Tony Hsieh – Answer Three Key Onboarding Due Diligence Questions
- How to Decide When It's Time to Walk Away a la Kofi Annan in Syria
- Cusack Capital CEO’s Second Act Disaster (Onboarding Done Wrong)
- Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson's New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan
- Promoted From Within — Thoughts For Google’s New CEO Larry Page
- Why Apple is Doing Well Without Steve Jobs – Steve Cook
- What Greece’s Interim Prime Minister Lucas Papademos Must Do
- Follow Three Imperatives in Starting a Successful Service Business – Robert Rigby-Hall, Glenn Kaufman
- Kim Jong Un's Challenges in Taking Over the Family Business (North Korea)
- Prepare for the unlikely, but possible: Leadership Lessons from Bloomberg, Christie, Katrina and Irene
- Corporate Culture: The Only Truly Sustainable Competitive Advantage
- Don't Lead Until You Have Earned the Right to Lead in a New Job – Lars Bjork
- What Derek Fisher Must Do To Build A Knicks Basketball Championship Culture
- Ben & Jerry's, Unilever and the "Flavor Graveyard" of past CEOs
- Want to Change the World? Define Your Organization's Attitude
- What Bob McDonald Must Do In His First 100-Days To Shock The Veterans Administration
- When and How to Shock an Organization for its Own Good
- Shock Therapy: How Siemens New CEO Can Fix Its Corporate Culture
- Culture Change & The Catholic Church: What the new Pope can learn from Past Leaders
- How TriZetto's CEO Changed Its Culture By Changing Its Attitude – Trace Devanny
- Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer's New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan
- The Cure for Incompetent Onboarding
- Give Your Boss What She Needs, Not Just What She Requests – Othmarr Ammann, George Washington Bridge
- To Be One of the "Best Places to Work," Build a BRAVE Culture – Kathy Young, St. Joseph
- Steelcase CEO on How Office Layout Impacts Corporate Culture – Jim Hackett
- Survival Guide for Avon CEO Sherilyn McCoy and Other Change Agents
- New Best Buy CEO Must Earn the Right to Lead Before He Tries to Lead – Hubert Joly
- New Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Shifts from Commanding to Advising
- Despite Bleak Housing Market, Toll Brothers CEO Isn’t Panicking
- Steve Jobs’ Wake Analysis
- How John Smale Changed the Business Environment for Procter & Gamble
- A Shocking Approach by New UK Prime Minister David Cameron
- What We Can Learn About Negotiating From the Great Compromiser – Henry Clay
- The Los Angeles Urban League’s Blair Taylor Follows the Only Possible Path to Success
- Why Preparing in Advance is Priceless: How MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga Planned Ahead for His New Leadership Role
Moments of Impact: MANAGE THE MESSAGE
- Powerful First Impressions: Michael Brune’s Day One at The Sierra Club
- Managing First Impressions In A New Job – Amy Robinson
- HOPEHIV's Phil Wall
- Meg Whitman's Day One Itinerary as CEO of Hewlett-Packard
- Leadership Lessons from New Republican Messaging on Debt Ceiling
- How the Red Cross’s Charley Shimanski Inspires Others with Communication at the Heart of the Mission
- A Personal Branding MAP For Leaders
- Three Steps to a Compelling Message
- Five Steps to Turn Wasteful Meetings into Drivers of Success – Lars Bjork, QlikTech
- How to Manage Your Personal Brand, Especially in a Job Search – Jane Howze, Alexander Group
- Follow the "Flipped Classroom" model in business presentations – Robert Heitmeier, PolyVision
- Learn and Apply The Critical Communication Lesson from NBC's Olympic Timing Misfires
- True Value Hardware Deploys Three Keys to Successful Culture Change
- Procter & Gamble’s John Pepper Votes With His Feet
- Which Way to Run? Lessons from 9/11 Choices – Rudy Giuliani,
- Why RIM’s New CEO Needs to Change the Platform for Change
- The Power of a Consistent Message Illustrated by WNET’s CEO, Neal Shapiro
- Job #1 of a Leader: Show Up – Chris Christie, JEan-Claude Brizard, Marc Binioff
- How Leaders' Communication Styles Impact the Delivery of Results – David Greenberg
- Reaching Consensus: Lessons from the Iowa Caucus
- JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s Public Lambasting of the Bank of Canada
Follow-through: BUILD THE TEAM
- How CEO Sam Martin is Driving the Imperative to Overhaul A&P
- Mergers and Acquisitions are not Strategies. They are Tactics. – Mark Lucas, Imation
- Three Keys to a Winning Attitude for a Service Business – Joyce Landry & Josephine Kling
- How Merkel Can Lead the Euro Zone Out of Crisis
- Follow the Money to Understand Last Week's European Summit
- Steve Jobs and the Power of a Passionate Focus
- BMW’s Focus on Sustainability Drives Record Q1 Profits – Norbert Reithofer
- Are Obama, Boehner, and Cantor going to follow their principles off the cliff?
- Ron Krueck’s Vision of a More Welcoming Michigan Avenue Facade in Chicago
- Intuit’s Current and Former CEO Drive Value Proposition In Sync – Scott Cook, Brad Smith
- IBM CEO Virginia Rometty’s New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan
- Want culture change to stick? Change the operations. – Equifax's Andy Bodea
- Royal Caribbean’s CEO Exemplifies How to Leverage Milestones
- Leverage Service as a Strategic Weapon with Attitude and Discipline – Moshe BenBassat, Clicksoftware
- Manage Through Complexity as Producer, Director, Stage Manager – Swedbank's Anki Ahrnell
- IBM’s Sue Hed Shows How Early Wins Get You Ahed of the Curve
- Manage Major Business Transformations in Stages – Brent Stoute, MDA
- Warning: Early Wins for New Leaders Can Be Counterproductive – Art Papas, Bullhorn
- What Your Company Can Learn From Fast Food and Fast & Furious 6
- Leading by Example with Flames of Giving – Sari Gross
- Positive Misdirection Instills Confidence
- New Ideas in Onboarding Thought Leadership
- The Only Real Question Anyone Has About Any Change You Lead
- Comming Soon: The Great CEO Transition At Microsoft (And The 7 Steps That Will Help Them Get It Right)
- The Right Way To Divide Responsibilities Between Chairman and CEO
- A Framework for Turning Individuals' Strengths into Team Synergies – Eugene Shen
- How To Light A Fire Under Your Team When Things Are Going Well – Hakan Ericsson, Carlson Wagonlit Travel
- Top 10 Dos and Don'ts for Onboarding a New Chief Operating Officer
- The Key to Turning an Entrepreneurial Venture into a Real Business – Peter McKay, Desktone
- How Salesforce and Deloitte Tackle Employee Engagement with Gamification
- Chiquita CEO Fernando Aguirre on Inspiring and Enabling Others
- Lessons in Complementary Leadership from Disney and Coca-Cola
- Lessons from The Animal School Fable in Leveraging Strengths
- Leading Those That Would Undermine Your Leadership
- The Secret to Jets Coach Rex Ryan Winning Record is His “Whole Team” Approach
- Plum Builders’ CEO Rights Roles to Deliver Better Results for Its Customers – Al Giaquinto
- When to Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way: Leadership Lessons from the Greek Bailout
- Evolutionary, Revolutionary or Blended Innovation: Which is Right For Your Organization? – Tim Brown, Lafley, Hacket, Whitman
- Why You Must Lead Differently As Your Team Grows
- Evolve Your Board as Your Organization Changes
- Changing Thymes: How to Know Exactly When to Evolve Your Organization
- Metro North's 100-Day Action Plan For Reestablishing A Safe and Reliable Service
- What to do when there's a death in the business family
- Fear the Randomly Dogmatic Boss and Colleagues
- Seven Keys to Surviving Your New Boss – Paul Zeller, Imation
- Three Imperatives for Service Innovation – Kevin Reddy, Noodles
- MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor on How To Capitalize on the Mobile Wave Before You Get Washed Out
- Plannng your future when the future you had planned goes awry – Rick Eno, Metabolix
- The Goldilocks Middle Way Between DIY and Outsourcing – Stephen Wiehe, SciQuest
- Northeastern's Fight or Flight Decision – Joseph Aoun
- How to Take Advantage of Coming Changes in Consumer Behavior through Nexting – Sergio Zyman, uSell
- Walmart CEO Mike Duke Shifts Approach
- Five Keys to Managing an Unpredictable Boss
- Every New Leader Faces Recall Elections. Survive Yours – Sherilyn McCoy, AVon, Scott Walker, Wisconsin
- QlikTech CEO Galvanizes Team, Delivers 50% Growth – Lars Bjork
- In Selling Commodity Products, Zig When Your Competitors Zag – Tony McDowell
- GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s Long-term View 10 Years In
Extra: Put it all together
- The Most Important Secrets To Succeeding In A New Job
- Examples to Follow from Mid-Market Convention Honorees
- Why Overnight Start-Up Success Is A Myth
- Want the Best from Contractors? Deploy Two-Way Onboarding?
- Why Google Can Not Run the World: Wisdom = Data + Experience
- Veterans Answering The Star-Spangled Banner's Call for BRAVE Leadership
- Affordable Debt: The Better Angel to Fuel Growth
- Caryn Lerner’s 100-Day Action Plan as New CEO of Daffy’s
- New Leader Ideas 2013: Get The Job. Onboard Well. Be BRAVE.
- New Leader's Playbook Highlights: A 2012 Year in Review
- Leadership Lessons from the World's Top Companies: 2011 Year in Review
- Survey Highlights Successful Onboarding Strategies for Salespeople
Extra: For Acquisitions
- What Facebook Must Do To Transfer Acquired Karma's Karma
- How Kenexa CEO Rudy Karsan Is Making the Salary.com Acquisition Work
- Merging Cultures Post-Acquisition at Fujitsu America – Tony Doye
- Three Priorities in Ensuring a Smooth M&A Deal – Susan Salka AMN Healcare
Leader's Perspective Articles:
- Beyond 10,000 Hours: The Constant Pursuit of Mastery – Robert Greene, Mastery
- How to win at office politics – Lincoln
- Best Advice for JC Penney's New CEO: Sell Quickly
- Yahoo's COO de Castro hit two of the three main causes of executive onboarding failure
- Leading the Unmanageable to do Amazing Things – Chris Lin
- MOOC Provider edX Partners with Community Colleges to Improve Workforce Readiness – Anant Agarwal
- Answer "What if?" Questions to Prepare for Field Promotions
- Intentional Leaders are not Victims of Circumstances – John Paul Jones, Winston Churchill
- Perspective on The Importance of Non-Monetary Ways of Value Capture – Hugh Grant, Monsanto
- The Power of Persistence: Author Norb Vonnegut
- Choosing Between Henry VIII and Suleiman the Magnificent's Approaches to Succession Management
Click here for a free executive summary of The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan book.