Starting The Right Way

Just recently the University of Tennessee hired a new Athletic Director, Dave Hart. Recently in The Tennessean an interview with the new AD was published. This interview covered details of his new role, but what was interesting to me was how he described the first step he plans to take to start the right way.

Sit down one-on-one with key leadership; listen and absorb what they have to say.

In years past I have heard of leaders who came in and made changes on day one because they were under the impression that they could get away with anything during the 'honeymoon period', that period of time when mistakes might be overlooked because they are new. Bad mistake.

A friend and vice-president of a large corporation told me of a practice that he implement with direct reports he hires. As a part of the assimilation process, he has them sit down one-on-one with their peers. Here they get to know each other and also get to investigate how they will work together.

Another step I believe is important is to spend intentional time with the report for at least three months. Here the supervisor will be able to communicate culture and values. The supervisor will also be able to evaluate the report's work long before an official evaluation is called for by the organization.

Dave Hart has it right: start out by talking one-on-one with your team. You have much to gain and nothing to lose.

What are some of the first steps you would make when assuming a new leadership position?