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What’s more important — demonstrating business results early on or getting acquainted in the first 90 days so you don’t make bigger mistakes later?

As the incoming leader, demonstrating results is critical to you and your company’s success.

Chances are there are urgent things that need your attention.  Too often leaders jump in without all the facts and start making decisions.

“Surround yourself with the strongest, most knowledgeable people, and give them room to express themselves.”                                             – Phil Jackson

However, hold off on the temptation to jump in too soon without knowing the landscape and the facts. Instead, find ways to keep these initiatives moving by engaging others. While you may think you can make decisions, chances are the only thing you will do well early on is make a BIG mistake.

At the same time, you will need a plan to keep the business running. The CLEAR Model outlines a way to keep the business on track while you get up-to-speed in your new role.

Clarity – Develop as a complete picture of the situation. What really needs to be solved in the next two to three months and what can be handled by someone else? Identify the two or three business items that need your immediate attention. Then get clear about what you will do and how you will stay on top of the situation. My best advice: Unless it is mission-critical to make a decision right this second, use your transition into a new role to listen and learn. There will be ample time to jump into the many opportunities that present themselves.

Leadership — Rather than stepping in and making a mess of things, delegate and empower others closer to the problem to craft a solution. Chances are they’re already involved. While you may think you are being helpful, you may actually be doing what someone else should be doing.

Some people will be afraid to warn you that your early decisions are off track. Best to keep an open door that allows people to share their thoughts and concerns. This will allow you to be consulted on the key issues and leave you room to get up-to-speed.

Expectations — Define how you wish to work in the transition period. Get clear on your expectations and establish roles and responsibilities including; levels of authorities and decision making. You can always make adjustments later on.

You really don’t want to become the bottle-neck; while at the same time, you will want to stay abreast of the issue. When people know what is expected of them, they have leeway to perform at their best.

Actions – Map out a plan so everyone knows what’s to be accomplished. Save some time on your calendar to be available for periodic check-ins. This is the time to remove obstacles and roadblocks and provide ample feedback so others can keep things moving.

Remember that people deploying new solutions can feel uncomfortable and awkward as they work in a new way. People may need more information not less to know they are on track. Be prepared to increase both your communication and feedback as the plans get deployed.

Results – Know what success looks like. This includes both the desired result and those key indicators that help you see people are beginning to work in a new way. This is a perfect time to provide feedback and even celebrate those small wins along the way.

Focus on what matters most to keep the business running without getting tripped up in the process. The CLEAR Model is an easy way to keep things moving forward and on track.