How do you approach a new role?

How do you approach a new role?

Even before I got involved with Dan Wells and GrowCFO, I’d been researching and drafting a book about how you approach the first 100 days in a new finance role.

I’m setting my objectives for the next 12 months right now, and one of my objectives is to get the book into a state that it’s ready to publish. It had been on the back burner until I attended the launch of Michael Heppell‘s book “Write That Book” earlier this year. Now is the time to turn the initial draft into the finished article.

Setting annual objectives in September, Kevin? I hear you ask. It’s not the beginning of the year. For me, this is where the year starts. It’s the new school year. For the first 21 years of my life, this is the time of year new things started. New school, new class, off to university, first job. It’s the time of new beginnings. January is a busy time in finance; many companies have year ends either then or in March, so it’s time to finish the old, not start the new. Refreshed after the summer break is the right time for setting objectives.

Planning, setting goals, and the whole concept of the next 100 days have always been big interests of mine. I’m planning the following year, but most of the plan will focus on what will happen in the 100 days leading up to Christmas.

So why is 100 days so important for your next finance role? The first 100 days are essential to setting you up for success. A great first 100 days leads to a brilliant first year, making you a high-performing finance leader for the rest of your tenure.

My early research led to many things I teach in module 9 of the GrowCFO Future CFO Programme, where we examine the first 100 days in your new CFO role. In that module, we consider the first ten days, which are all about induction and then split the next 90 days into three equal blocks of 30 days. Each 30 days has a different purpose. The first 30 is fact-finding. The middle 30 blueprinting and the final 30 are about communicating the changes and working with the rest of the team to plan the future in more detail.

Quick wins are a vital part of the first 100 days. You’ll need to show some early success. First, to start delivering on the mandate you were recruited for. Second, could you show your team that you mean business and can fix things for the better? This way, you start winning hearts and minds.

The book will cover this plan and go into every 30 days in much more detail, but there has to be more than this. New finance leaders experience several challenges, so the book must consider those. The role likely takes you into new territory and to the edge of your comfort zone, so how do you pick up the new skills you need quickly? You will likely suffer a lack of confidence, even imposter syndrome. How do you handle those?

The new role is as near to a blank sheet of paper as possible. But others will mould it to what they want unless you deliberately mould it into what you want. But what do you want?

  • What sort of finance leader do you want to be?
  • What do you want to specialise in or be famous for?
  • How do you want to work with your business colleagues?
  • What sort of team do you want around you?
  • What culture do you want to create?

Please be sure to know the answers to these questions before your first day in post. You must put the foundations for what you want in place in the first 100 days.

The next research phase is talking to finance leaders who recently changed roles. If that’s you, then I’d love to talk. Finding out what worked and didn’t work for you is essential, as is understanding what you wish you knew or would do differently if you started over again. Your story might make it to the book!

If you can help, please drop me a LinkedIn message.

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