Setting the course in 100 days

The Austrian poet Franz Grillparzer’s proverb „If the eye cannot convince, the mouth cannot persuade“ is certainly not the last word of truth. Nevertheless, the first impression counts much more than all the following. In the professional environment, it’s not only the first visual impression that counts, but also the content. It is very common for new employees to be checked for content and expertise at their first meetings. Then current problems are briefly summarized, and a simple and quick solution is expected from the new employee. „How do you want to solve this problem?“.

In general, the first assessment is made after 100 days, after this time you should know where you want to go and how to get there.

When making a first impression, it is imperative to be well prepared and to have your own plan for the first 100 days. The following five phases for the first 100 days have proven to be successful.

Listening phase / Discovery – Get to know your environment

Get to know your employees, stakeholders, process interfaces and the most important suppliers. Open questions can be used to quickly and easily obtain a 360° feedback on the current situation. As a new employee you are historically unencumbered. A standardized question such as „How do you rate the current performance from 1= poor to 5= very good?“ gives you the opportunity to prepare the multitude of your conversations afterwards. Thus, you can make statements in the follow-up like: „My conversation partners of the last three weeks see the efficiency on the average with 3,4 of 5 possible points. There is still room for improvement for us“ or „Nobody has given us a 1= bad performance, but also no one has given us a 4 or 5“.

Adjustment phase / Baseline – more than just KPIs

Have a look at the KPIs, processes and methodology in detail. In combination with the listening phase, you will determine your own starting position. And take the time to understand the KPIs in depth. On which data are they based, how are they calculated? Is there automatism or are KPIs formed manually to the best of one’s knowledge? In the future, you will be the one in the driver seat regarding the main KPIs. The same applies to processes and methodology. Take existing descriptions, instructions and manuals and compare them with reality. If there are deviations between theory and reality, the reasons are certainly crucial for necessary changes, especially for the next phase.

Architecture phase / Potentials – creating a clear vision

You should have obtained a very good overview of the processes in which “it jams” during the listening and adjustment phase. In connection with the identified KPIs, you have a quick and verified overview of significant potentials of a transformation. In the architecture phase you can align your experiences, your ideas regarding goals, processes and methodology with the given framework conditions and strive for them. And don’t forget your employees. Use the time and get a clear picture of the required organizational adjustments and changes and the matching job profiles. This is an effective way to to trigger the necessary motivation.

Action phase / Roadmap – 100% does not have to be the target

Short-term success increases your reputation and shows your determination for change. Therefore, do not wait until you have drawn up a 100% well thought-out roadmap to achieve your goals before you start to be operative.  Identify measures with quick and measurable results and implement them. With the roadmap in parallel you define realistic, but ambitious goals with milestones, budget and potential. Implementation phase / Implementation – Implementation needs to be monitored

Turn those who are affected into participants. It is of utmost importance to strive for a real commitment of the management level and the most important stakeholders for your implementation plan/ milestones and stick to the plan. Nothing makes you more unreliable than too many plans and targets whose implementation no one monitors.

And if you need a coach or sparring partner for these phases – That’s our business.


Oliver Kreienbrink

Managing Director, ADCONIA GmbH (Oberhausen)

Sinja Krauskopf

Consultant, ADCONIA GmbH (Oberhausen)