Leaders for Success – A 90 day plan for new leadership teams

To ensure business continuity new leaders must hit the ground running, having a support system in place to guide them through
the first 90 days.

Today, a newly appointed executive will feel pressure almost immediately after taking up a new position; rarely will the new executive enjoy a six or 12-month ‘honeymoon’ period. Newly appointed leaders might wish to keep three numbers in mind: 8, 30, and 13.

The first number (8) reflects the average years of tenure for heads of companies and public sector agencies. According to the Conference Board (a business membership and research group organisation), this figure has dropped significantly since 2000.

The second number (30) is the percentage of significant change initiatives that heads of companies and public sector agencies need to implement in order to achieve their goals. Although 90% of these change initiatives are technically correct, 70% of them do not earn the support and acceptance of organisation members and stakeholders.

The third number (13) informs the first two. According to Gallup research, 13% is the current percentage of global employees who are fully and enthusiastically engaged in both their day-to-day work and their organisation. Almost twice that percentage are actively disengaged, and the remaining employees give the organisation their time, but not their heart.

We could think of 8 as a number for tenure, 30 as a number for chances of success, and 13 as a number for levels of engagement. In the context of these three numbers, and the extent to which every minute spent in the workplace counts, what is a new CEO to do? We recommend a process of due diligence, planning, talent assessment and leadership team building. At Diva Keren Executive, we call it the 90-day plan, and it enables newly appointed leaders to accelerate their learning about the organisation while simultaneously identifying strategic goals and challenges.


After 90 days in the role, a new CEO will have the key to success in the palm of their hand. They will have grasped key external stakeholders’ point of view and will have made a good start on relationship building. They are also likely to have clarified the organisation’s vision and strategic path. Additionally, in order to align the organisation’s capability with strategy, they are likely to have reviewed the quality of leaders and managers across the organisation, and to have assessed their performance, talent depth and competence. Finally, in order to gain trust for their new leadership, they will have identified ‘low-hanging fruit’ i.e., the early wins that reinforce vision, values, and strategy.

The 90-day plan: five elements

Diva Keren Executive guides new CEOs to enable them to identify and maximise:

  1. Strategic stakeholder relationships
  2. Go-forward vision, values, and strategy
  3. Leadership team effectiveness
  4. Organisation effectiveness and talent
  5. Early wins: ‘low-hanging fruit’

The 90-day plan includes 60 days of consultation and 30 days of vision “engagement sessions”, and   incorporates a disciplined focus to data collection and priority setting. We have worked with a wide variety of public and private sector leaders shortly after taking up their new position in an organisation. Without exception, we have delivered real value by helping these individuals build important internal and external relationships, define critical strengths and needs, and begin to develop a strategic plan. Diva Keren Executive can customise a plan and schedules to provide important organisational insights to new CEOs, and ensure that they are focused on where they can make early and important contributions, thus securing their leadership within their new organisation.