Solving One of the Biggest Problems Faced by a New CEO

“Congratulations, we would like to offer you the job”.

At this point it has just become real.

You won the interview process and the interview panel and board are welcoming you to the team.

You’ve done your research on the organisation during the interview process.

You have a rough game plan based on what the board has outlined as your objectives and your initial thoughts.

Wait… isn’t even Day 1 on the job yet.

The next step is meeting your team.

I have learned over all my CEO roles that if an outgoing CEO gives you a “heads up” on specific team members, it’s worth paying attention to it.

Don’t dismiss any comments made by an outgoing CEO as interpersonal issues which you won’t face because you’re a real people person and get on with most people.

Value it like a life saving hack or cheat in a computer game (if you have teenagers you will know what I mean).

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The success of your vision and the success of meeting the board’s objectives rests with your success in building and managing your team.

I am a big supporter of working with the talent you have rather than simply importing previous team members from your previous roles.

Corporate knowledge is essential when you yourself are new to the role.

You want as much of it as you can get.

Reinventing the wheel, with exceptions naturally, is a much slower approach and often leads to repeating unnecessary mistakes.

Also, staff turnover is costly so a focus on staff retention keeps dollars in the bank ready to fund actions which will help you achieve your goals.

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One of the biggest problems faced by a new CEO…

…is getting to know the people reporting to you in the fastest possible time and in the most effective way.

Everybody has their masks on, maybe even you! Everybody is on their best behaviour.

Everybody is conscious to make a good impression on you, the new CEO.

Some will race up to you and try and give you their version of “the norm”.

Some will give you a wide berth until they have worked you out.

Some will be polite with unspoken impolite thoughts.

Some will be nervous whilst others are confident in their own ability and position in the organisation.

If you are really fortunate, you will have an EA to assist you in working out “who is who in the zoo”.

Ostensibly though, you are on your own in a sea of unknown….for now.

Some overcome this stage faster than others depending on their own personality, behaviour style and experience.

How will you approach it?

Arrange a social gathering to enable you to get to meet people in a relaxed setting?

One to one catch ups?

Observation through daily interaction?

Review of personnel files including past performance reviews?

There are a number of ways you may choose.

Here comes paradigm shift #1 for you.

Imagine if on Day 1 of a new role, you were handed a customised road map to each individual reporting to you.

Imagine if you knew strengths, weaknesses, stretches, motivators, demotivators.

If you knew whether somebody had a need for more instruction or was feeling pressure at either work or home.

If you knew somebody’s preference for communication, how they made decisions, their approach to change, what they feared most.

How do you think a person would respond to being asked those questions when you first met them?

It could take years to build up the interpersonal trust to discover that kind of information… certainly not something in the first few days.

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Ready for paradigm shift #2?

Imagine now that you were able to map somebody’s thinking style.

If you could quickly and easily see gaps in how people think – is that something worth having?

How valuable to a project would it be to know whether somebody is strong or weak in structure?

If somebody had great vision and understood the “why” yet was weak with implementation.

If somebody needed more development in the people space.

Through some very powerful science based tools, combined with skilled and experienced interpretation, those road maps I spoke of are real…they exist…. and can be yours.


If you are that new CEO or even an existing CEO just wanting to improve effectiveness by understanding your team better and at a deeper level contact me, Steve Gregory, at and we can start a conversation. If you aren’t ready for a conversation at this point in time, then at a minimum I encourage you to have a look at our website

Steve Gregory is CEO of Black Bull Performance Group, based in Canberra Australia, serving executives and leaders across Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada.

This article was written by a Bx Member, and published by Bx.

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