Of all the tools in your toolbox, putting people in the right roles is one of the most powerful. It is also the most explosive. As you seek to evolve (or shock!) the culture, these moves will be the most decisive and will have the greatest impact. Use your first 100-days in a new job to get ready and to start seeding changes.

Often, team members of a culture or organization that is beginning to evolve will watch and wait to see whether there are any consequences for not evolving with the new culture. They will pay particular attention to the team members who say things like, “All that meeting and report stuff is fine, but if it means I have to change what I do, forget it!” The moment somebody is terminated or moved or promoted, those who have been resisting the change often develop a completely different view of things. There is no single way to impact culture more quickly than changes to the organization.

Everybody on the team feels it when people moves are made. Everyone will have an opinion (usually strong) on the moves and how they affect him or her. Personnel moves spark emotions, fears, and egos, so you need to be thoughtful about who, what, and especially when you move people. Recognize that moving people should actually be seen as your most potent communication tool: This person means business and means it now!

As a leader, you can help your team and the people you’re working with see their roles in a more comprehensive light if you make an effort to link them directly to their career development. Many people are not in the right role for the team’s mission or even for their own professional development. Moving roles is often as much about doing what is right for the individual as it is for the team. If you can develop the leadership skill of communicating with people effectively about roles and careers, you will be investing not only in the success of your 100 days, but in your own long-term success as a leader.

Jayme Check one of the co-authors of The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan shares this insight (request a free summary of the book):

When it comes to sorting people and roles on your team, you need to work with a short-term and a long-term framework. Initially, you must look at your team to determine whether any short-term moves should be made – before Day One in a merger, by day 70 in other cases.

You need a framework for your thinking – something like ADEPT:

  • Acquire: Scope roles, identify, recruit, select, attract and onboard people.
  • Develop: Assess performance drivers. Develop skills and knowledge for current and future roles.
  • Encourage: Provide direction, objectives and measures. Support with resources and time. Then reinforce with recognize and reward.
  • Plan: Monitor, assess, plan future capability development, succession and for contingencies.
  • Transition: Migrate people to different roles to fit their own and organizational needs.


Put in place organizational processes to acquire, develop, encourage, plan, and transition (ADEPT) talent over time.

The mission, vision, objectives and strategies inform the ideal organization structure and help identify the required roles.

The vision helps define role requirements, including which roles are required to be best in class.

In filling roles, match performance, strengths, motivation, and fit of individuals to the role:

  • Support and develop high performers in right roles.
  • Improve performance of low performers in right roles.
  • Evolve high performers in wrong role to better roles over time.
  • Move low performers in wrong role to better role now.

Some of your most painful choices are going to be in this area. Trying to please everybody will lead to pleasing nobody. Choosing to act on people who are in the wrong roles now or will soon be in the wrong roles is generally not the most enjoyable part of leadership. But it is an essential part.