01st May 2012

John Browett @ 30 Days

Last month John Browett moved from Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire to sunny California and one of the most exciting technology companies in the world. He has taken up the role of Vice President of Retail for Apple, and has been in the position for 30 days now. 

There are several common transition challenges that newly appointed executives are likely to face when they take on a new role. On relocating abroad, there are even more. From a business perspective the leader will be expected to perform effectively, and immediately – yet such a transition results in business, cultural and personal challenges related to effectiveness, relocation and family – which can arrest performance. But, success from the start is crucial. The early days of a role appointment are routinely read as an indicator of performance in the longer term.

The first 100 days is characterised by an intense learning curve, and the biggest challenge is establishing the right set of strategic priorities and staying focused on them. This is why a detailed First 100 Days Plan is invaluable.

It can be tempting to get ‘stuck in’ – but, you need to have the strength of character to stand back and assess what exactly you should be doing. Newly appointed leaders can get distracted from their strategic priorities by this immediate fire-fighting. But the core issues must be tackled. Getting the balance right between moving too fast and moving too slowly is key. While you want to avoid the panicked scatter-gun approach, you also want to avoid doing too little (the “I’ll just listen for three months” approach). It is hugely important to find the correct balance.

A detailed first 100 days plan helps the newly appointed executive to stay focused on the key issues, by clearly outlining desired aims, with a guide on how to achieve these aims.

At this point, John Browett will be fully immersed in his new role and tackling his transition challenges head on. The 30 day milestone is an opportunity to stop, take stock and review progress. Browett should be looking at what he has achieved so far, and what he has yet to achieve. Then he can plan for the next review, by figuring out the critical success factors for the next 30 days.

Hilda Goold

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