The New Leader’s Playbook

We accelerate leaders and teams through complex transitions by helping create and implement 100-day action plans that jump start strategic, operational and organizational processes. Our clients deliver better results faster.  Learn more about our clients, our team, and how we can help leaders and teams succeed during executive onboarding, team onboarding and acceleration & restart transitions.

We share our ideas on transition acceleration, executive and team onboarding and leadership weekly on

We have organized these articles in the categories we think about when it comes to successful transitions – we call this The New Leader’s Playbook.

You may also find our book, The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan, a useful guide.

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Position for Success

At its core, leadership is an exercise in culture change. It’s about creating and bridging gaps: gaps between you and your new team, gaps between reality and aspiration. Thus, positioning yourself for success as a leader must start with understanding your own cultural preferences and strengths in the context of potential opportunities. Then you should create options and do a real due diligence to mitigate organizational, role and fit landmines. 

Get to Work Before Day One

How you approach the time between accepting the job and before you start can have a massive impact on your success after you start. On the one hand, the approach is different if you’re joining a new company, getting promoted or transferred from within, crossing international boundaries or merging teams. On the other hand, the context and culture will inform your choice around whether to assimilate in slowly, converge and evolve or shock the organization with sudden changes. (Go to these articles.)



Manage the Message

Take Control of Day One

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 as the new leader think and what you’re going to do. You’re going to get positioned – either by others or by yourself. This is why it’s so important to 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. (Go to these articles.)





Activate Ongoing Communication

The prescription for communication during the time between Day One and co-creating a Burning Imperative is counter-intuitive and stressful for new leaders following this program. The fundamental approach is to converge and evolve. And the time before co-creating a Burning Imperative is all about converging. This means you can’t launch your full-blown communication efforts yet. You can’t stand up and tell people your new ideas. If you do, they are your ideas, not invented here and not the team’s ideas. (Go to these articles.)


Communication Basics


Culture (Behaviors, Relationships, Attitudes, Values, Environment)

Mergers and Acquisitions



Mitigate Risks

First-Time Leaders

    Build the Team

    Pivot to Strategy

    Build the team strategically, operationally and organizationally. Start with strategy and a Burning Imperative that is a sharply defined, intensely shared, and purposefully urgent understanding from each of the team members of what they are “supposed to do, now,” and how this works with the larger aspirations of the team and the organization. (Go to these articles.)




    Competitive Advantage

    Drive Operational Accountability

    The real test of a high-performing team’s tactical capacity lies in the formal and informal practices that are at work across team members, particularly around clarifying decision rights and information flows.  Managing milestones is about mapping and tracking what is getting done by when by whom. Early wins are all about credibility and confidence. So identify potential early wins, their associated milestones and over invest to deliver them —as a team! (Go to these articles.)

      Strengthen the Organization

      Make your organization stronger by acquiring, developing, encouraging, planning, and transitioning talent:

      • 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.

      This is one of the most important things you do. (Go to these articles.)

        Sustain Momentum

        Keep Building

        Remember that aligning your people, plans, and practices around a shared purpose is not a one-time event, but, instead, something that will require constant, ongoing management and improvement to sustain momentum and deliver results. (Go to these articles.)

        Rapid Growth

        Shifting Sands



        Contingency Planning

        Executive Onboarding Notes

        Other Articles