I start my new job as head of marketing of a consumer products company two weeks from Friday. Seems a little inefficient to start the Friday before July 4th weekend, but that’s our agreement. I will write a journal entry each Friday through my first 100-days so I can track my progress and post it here to allow others to benefit from the knowledge gleaned as I acclimate to my new role and surroundings.

Get a head start

I know I have to get a head start. Part of early success is preparation in advance and so I’m creating a 100-day plan, helping me to outline key milestones and how I will prove my value quickly. To develop this, I turned to the tools in The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan.  I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the 3rd edition, due out on October 10, 2011.  (Not at all surprising since I’m actually a fictional character created by one of the book’s authors.)

Part of the reason for my trepidation in beginning this new career is the context of what I’m jumping into. The company’s recent IPO is giving my new organization all sorts of incremental resources. I, along with  my new team, have the opportunity to create and implement a marketing investment plan to accelerate growth for our organization which is relatively new and has its eyes set on expansion. We have some strong products already doing well and a set of competitors in disarray (though we expect them to get organized sooner or later).


To better breakdown  the organization’s culture it is easiest to asses it within the following categories:

Behaviors: free flow of people and ideas, casual about punching the clock, disciplined in its thinking

Relationships: open and casual, marked by a lot of mutual respect and support

Attitudes: so far, its kept the posture of a start up, looking forward much more than backwards

Values: there’s an underlying bias to experimentation with people much more hungry to try new things than defend what they’re already doing.  Openness to new ideas.  Respect for others.  Straight talk with civility

Environment: almost anti-environment.  No offices.  No boundaries

This analysis of the culture proves integral in the development of my 100-day plan which is beginning to take shape:

My 100-Day Plan

(Note this plan is straight out of the book, The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan.)


up: Jack (Boss), Susan (Boss’s boss)

across: Andrew (head of sales), Barney (head of product Devt), Chesley (CFO)

      Gerald (ad agency), Hal (PR agency)

down: David (Brand X director), Ellen (Brand Y Director), Faith (Media director)

Message: Our time!

Platform for change: IPO has given us incremental resources

vision: market leader in our categories

call to action: Research, develop, sell, implement marketing investment plans

Fuzzy Front End

personal set-up: get family settled in rental house, office, phone, computer, etc.

jumpstart learing: consumer research, customer U&A, base plans

meet live in advance:  David, Ellen, Andrew, Barney

phone in advance: Gerald, Hal, Chesley, Faith

(Announcement Cascade*)

Day One: (Jul-1) OJ with full team, New Manager Assimilation, in-store visits

First Week: Review base plans, 1:1s with all marketing people, agency orientations

Tactical Capacity Building Blocks

Burning Imperative (by day 30 – Jul-30) – workshop with marketers, agencies, sales, PDD

milestones (by day 45 – Jul 31) – set day II of workshop

Early Wins Plans (by day 60 – Aug 31) – TBD (likely new advertising campaign)

Team Roles (by day 70 – Sep 10) – TBD (likely shifting resources into advertising)

      Communication Steps – start internal blog, share base plans with whole org


This step is mostly about the creation of a 100-day action plan and was particularly valuable because it makes me better prepared for what’s to come.  Preparation breeds confidence.  I’m confident.


The New Leader’s Journal is a fictional exercise illustrating the prescriptions and tools in the 3rd edition of The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan. Click here to request an executive summary of the book. Click here to pre-order/order a copy.

As an extra bonus, today’s article in The New Leader’s Playbook on Forbes.com features Caryn Lerner’s reflections on her first 100-days as CEO of Daffy’s.  Unlike the fictional CMO depicted in this note, Caryn is a real person who seems to have done well over her first 100-days despite her not being a PrimeGenesis client.  (I won’t ever write about or talk about PrimeGenesis clients by name.)  Click here to read the Forbes article on Caryn Lerner’s first 100-days.