As an executive onboarding into a new leadership role rounding the corner from your first to second 100-days, you’ll want to evolve your leadership. Building on my earlier article on The Eight Essential Steps of Executive Onboarding after getting a head start, managing your message, setting direction and building your team, in your second 100-days you need to turn your attention across, down and out to sustain momentum and deliver results.

Think about this in terms of a management cadence to keep your strategic, operating and organizational processes moving forward; and, at the same time, working hard to inspire and enable others across, down and out. Across is about linking and integrating. Down is about digging in to learn about others and what’s going on. Out means being at the forefront of outside-in leadership to stay abreast of and ahead of trends.

Core Processes

The Strategic Process is about the creation and allocation of the right resources to the right places in the right way over time. It comes from the Greek “strategos” and is the art of the general, arranging forces before battle. Think in terms of broad choices for how to achieve objectives. This gets kicked off by setting your imperative. You’ll then want to relook at your strategic plans annually and implement through your organizational and operational processes.

The Organizational Process is about people – acquiring, developing, encouraging, planning and transitioning them. You can’t get from strategy to execution without people. On an annual basis, relook at your future capability planning (flowing directly from your strategic plan), succession planning and contingency planning. Then manage the implementation of organizational programs, projects and tasks at both strategic and tactical levels.

The Operational Process is about making things happen, tactics. This comes from the Greek “taktikos,” the art of deploying forces during battle. This includes tasks that roll up into projects that in turn roll up into programs to design, build, sell, deliver or support products or services. Set your operating plan annually with monthly and quarterly reviews and updates at different levels of detail. Plan your programs and projects as appropriate. Then manage the implementation of tasks in real time, projects weekly and programs monthly.

Management Cadence

It’s easier to follow leaders with some sort of predictable flow. You’ll likely want different cadences for your core processes, programs and projects. You’ll want to give your managers more leash as they earn your confidence and less leash as they need more help. As a starting point:

Quarterly:  You may find it helpful to do a talent review in Q1, a strategic plan in Q2, future capability, succession and contingency planning in Q3 flowing from the strategic plan, and then operating plans in Q4.

Monthly:   In general, manage your main programs and early wins with monthly milestones.

Weekly:     In general, manage projects weekly.

Out. As your core processes take hold and people hit their strides, turn more of your attention out. The more time you can spend interacting with customers and influencers, building your understanding of the ever-evolving conditions in which you operate, anticipating what existing and new competitors are going to do and creating and strengthening relationships with collaborators in your eco-system, the better. This is key to anticipating risks and opportunities. Ask “What if?” And make sure you’ve got some deviants, disrupters, challengers, or rebels on your team to challenge your best current thinking on a regular basis.

Across. You can never delegate ownership for the vision and values. Keep driving your message and core mantras every chance you get. Leverage your quarterly, monthly and weekly management cadence and other interactions to link and integrate efforts across groups.

Down. Delegate other things for leverage. But don’t hesitate to dig deep into issues and opportunities partly to check others’ command of what’s going on and alignment; and also to strengthen your own understanding of details and your people’s strengths to help your future capability, succession and contingency planning and talent management.


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