Making a Grand Entrance

Steps in New Positions

If competence is not enough to set the stage for success, what is? / Photo: istock; MilosJokic

You were hired for your competence, but competence is not enough to set the stage for success, win over key colleagues, and implement your plans as a new boss, says IESE Professor of Managing People in Organizations Guido Stein in the article “5 Tips for Executives in New Roles” published in IESE Insight.  Here are Stein’s main suggestions to ensure the first chapter in your new career is successful:

1. Make your Presence Felt

  • Customize your new office with photos, books, or paintings.
  • Get to know colleagues and your direct reports. Say “hello,” and use chance encounters to chat briefly and casually with them.
  • Set the agenda for the first week. Organize meetings within and outside the office to visit clients, suppliers, and other stakeholders.

2. Plan Your Communication

  • Inform the people you work with of your plans.
  • Analyze the structure of your organization and develop a communication plan with tailor-made messages for each audience.
  • Don’t only talk to the inner circle while informing the rest of the organization via an official memo. Instead, send concise and persuasive personal messages explaining the motives and the benefits of proposed changes.

3. Listen to People

  • See how colleagues are adapting to your changes and whether or not they are accepting them.
  • Ask to hear expectations and criticisms.
  • After gauging criticisms, reassess your communication plan accordingly.
  • Start developing a network of contacts and alliances with people from the different interest groups within the company.

4. Be a Team Player

  • Recruit different points of view and more hands on deck to make needed changes.
  • Find reliable collaborators.
  • Ask others for help discerning what’s working and what isn’t.
  • Don’t change things just for the sake of change.
  • Remember that replacing key people can have a negative effect over the medium term.

5. Overcome Resistance

  • Face problems and those who aren’t meeting your standards head-on and be resolute.
  • Manage unease by explaining why things must change, being sensitive to what is causing unease, and helping find alternatives to address problems.
  • Look for support from above. Superiors can help reinforce your message, but don’t overdo it with requests to them.


Stein, G.; García, D. “5 Tips for Executives in New Roles.” IESE Insight Knowledge Portal. Posted on 2014.

Stein, G.; García, D. “Practical Guide to Settling Into a New Executive Position” IESE Publishing. 2014. DPON-111-E


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