Three executive onboarding ideas have reduced the rate of failure for new executives from 40 percent to below 10 percent: Get a head start. Manage the message. Build the team. Underneath those ideas are the most important things you need to know and do to succeed in a new job.


Get a head start

  • Know your own leadership potential, strengths and preferences.
  • Build and implement a career plan to develop your skills, connections, and momentum.
  • Communicate your readiness for leadership by stepping up and leading something.
  • You cannot turn down a job offer that you have not received. Sell before you buy.
  • There are only three fundamental interview questions – ever. (Strengths. Motivation. Fit.)
  • There are only three fundamental interview answers – ever. (Strengths. Motivation. Fit.)
  • Be “on” at all times when being considered for a promotion. (Which is always.)
  • Negotiate for success before accepting a new job.
  • Manage through the deadly seven onboarding land mines: organization, role, personal, relationships, learning, delivery, adjustment.
  • Choose the right approach for the business context and culture you face – generally converging before evolving.
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  • Choose the right day to be day one – not necessarily your first official day in job.
  • Get a head start before day one to jump-start your planning, set up, learning and relationships.


Manage the message

  • Message matters. Either you position yourself or others will position you.
  • It is personal. Your words and actions impact others’ lives.
  • Amplifiers give you leverage. Work with others across diverse media.
  • Perseverance is essential. Be ready to communicate your message over and over again in a series of iterative conversations.
  • Order counts. People remember if you talked to them first, second or later.
  • Location counts.
  • Signs and symbols count.
  • Timing counts.


Build the team

  • Embed a burning imperative in your first 30 days.
  • Begin milestone management by day 45.
  • Identify early wins by day 60 and deliver them within your first six months.
  • Sort your team by day 70 getting the right people in the right roles.
  • Capitalize on the inevitably changing circumstances as appropriate.
  • Focus on the cause at all times. Leadership is not about you. It’s not even about the team. It’s about inspiring and enabling others to do their absolute best together to realize a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose – the cause.

These ideas are pulled from our book, The New Leader’s 100-Day Action PlanRequest a free executive summary.

Click here for an overview of the ten steps of The New Leader’s Playbook, the BRAVE leadership framework (Behaviors, Relationships, Attitudes, Values, Environment), and a full list of George Bradt’s New Leader’s Playbook articles for Forbes with links.