What Every New Leader Needs To Learn About Their New Environment

New leaders are expected to stimulate new thinking, to elevate performance and improve business results - quickly. Because of the tremendous pressure to accelerate their enterprise impact, many new business executives stepping into a new role and/or a new organisation work to speed-up their learning curve and move to immediate action.

That approach, in fact, has been championed incessantly by devotees of former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, who has looked back on his own storied management career and lamented the fact that in so many situations he could have and should have acted at least six months sooner than he did.

Yet many management observes and business executives alike would caution that a more careful, more methodical and engaging approach is most often the better course, even if that forces some delay in instituting changes that may be needed or brining in new people to create new and sustainable market advantages over the competition.
For starters, just the act of listening and asking the right questions can go a long way toward earning the trust of key stakeholders, be they customers, employees, shareholders or industry peers.

Investing time to survey the landscape, identify problems and think through potential solutions will demonstrate that there will be no rush to action, but rather, a purposeful and thoughtful assessment of whatever change may be required will likely earn respect with key influencers.

Along the way, as the new leader – be he or she the new CEO, a new Vice President or Country Manager, for examples – should gain some valuable perspective on who among the management team can be trusted as a steward of a new vision and strategy and who will resist change every step of the way.

While many executives are poised to bring former business lieutenants with them into a new organisational environment, these same leaders would be wise to first assess who they can work with and who is open-minded enough to consider business challenges from a new perspective and take the action needed to achieve shared objectives.

Isn’t it ironic, that in a world that demands speed, sometimes it’s the little things – even if they require some old-fashioned common sense and patience – that can make all the difference for a new leader entering unfamiliar territory?

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