100 days. Much has been made of this magic number. People talk about what they are going to do in their first 100 days in office. Or if they get a new position what they need to accomplish in their first 100 days. Various research firms have talked about what a new CEO/CIO needs to do in their first 100 days. Now, you can create as many lists as you like and talk to as many consultants as you want, but, to be honest, the 100-day limit is completely bogus. It’s an arbitrary number thought up by somebody at some point to essentially put a line in the sand saying “we’re here, where are we going to be in 100 days”.
Let’s face it, it’s nothing more than a call to action. Donald Trump has done everything he could to make his first 100 days memorable, including having his first re-election rally on February 18th, 2017, less than a month after being sworn in.
Now, I’m not dismissing the idea of the 100-day countdown. I’m saying that it is an arbitrary number which is nothing more than a push to get moving and that, in itself, is as important if not more important than the number itself. We all need a little push to get going, a target to aim for, a deadline to meet. Coming up with a realistic number, the target, is quite difficult, however, and needs some serious thought.
For instance, if you are completely new to a company you need to have more time to get acclimated to the corporate culture. If you are unsure of the mandate of the position that you are moving into you need additional time. But, if you have been with the organization for a while and are just moving into another role, then your 100 days can be cut in half or even more. If you already know the stakeholders, know the staff, then that decreases the time as well.
Sometimes, however, you are going in as the “fixer”. You’ve seen them before, people who are brought into a situation where the existing system is dysfunctional, where the group is being ripped to shreds by other groups and where the existing system can’t seem to deliver value. The “fixer” comes in, evaluates the situation, and makes the changes that everyone else was scared to implement. In the world of big business, these guys come in, rip a company apart and sell the pieces for more than what they paid for the whole. For large projects that are running astray, they will bring in a new project manager, revamp the processes and continue on. Sometimes the changes are minor, shifting the direction that one or two people are heading, while other times the changes are bigger in scope, requiring a fundamental shift in how the group approaches things. Rarely are the ideas bad, it’s usually the implementation of the idea that needs work, and therein lies the advantage of the “fixer”, the new blood.
A new perspective on an existing problem is sometimes the best thing that can happen to an organization.