Okay. So you are the new CEO. The chief honcho. The big cheese. The board hired you so they expect change. You have the authority to make almost any change you desire to the company.

You have that magical power as if to wave a magic wand and transformation is to happen. You think your stature and authority will be sufficient to force everyone in the company to comply to your every wish, including the changes you know you must make in the first 100 days in your new position.

The reality is that you are an unknown quantity to your new base of employees. Even before the announcement appears on company screens, rumour will be circulating and your new group of employees will already have stereotyped you as just one more leader or manager “like all the others who will want to make some ‘flavour of the day’ changes.”  You’re off to a bad start even before you get started. What’s a brand new executive to do?


As early as possible, start meeting your new employees. At first, do so in groups somewhat socially. An example might be to reserve an on-site location and invite a hundred or couple of hundred employees for a mid-morning coffee. Greet them at the door and be sure to greet each and every one. You can even make this a reward by canvassing your executive team for a 25 word or less contribution made by each employee you greet at the door. Read it and have a quick, but sincere, chat about it. Once everyone files into the greeting room, make a brief announcement of who you are and provide some personal background to help establish rapport. Allow for 3 to 5 after which SOMEONE ELSE calls for everyone to return to their work stations.

Once these greeting events have run their course, plan to do walk-abouts to catch employees at their work area and to have a brief chat, very brief. Throughout my entire career I was most thrilled when the CEO of our company walked into my office and tapped me on the shoulder just to say hello and thanks.

New leaders often fail when implementing change programs because they have not won the trust and respect of the employee base prior to introducing their changes.