As CEO, First 30-60 Days Priorities

As a New CEO, president, vice president, Director or General Manager For a Business Organization, What Should Be Your First 30 to 60 Days Priorities and Efforts?

August 2010

Rev. 2


By Michael Marshall, PhD


I am often asked this question by many business executives, business professors, business teachers and trainers, business consultants and advisors, and in my personal teaching and training.


The answers to this question are the same for any business executive who is tasked with ‘Turn-Around Management’ to help grow the business.


The first 30 to 60 days are critical because this is where you must get a good understanding of:
1. the business
2. capabilities currently and where it needs to get to
3. market or markets
4. communications of all types
5. its brand in the marketplace; what customers think and feel about the business organization, its products and services
6. the internal culture
7. issues, obstacles, challenges,; internal and external
8. the organization’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities; in products, services and capabilities
9. where the business has been, is at currently and where it needs to get to quickly
10. financial stability prior, currently and where it needs to be
11. objectives for advancements and improvements need to be established along with time lines and measurements


12. develop a strategic plan and implement


Besides hard work and long hours, this will require traveling into the marketplace, visiting customers and clients, distribution and sales networks, and extensive efforts within the business organization.
This business journey will require investigation skills and mindset.
It will require a true team effort because you cannot accomplish all of this by yourself.
The items in the above list are fairly broad and need more details to be meaningful.


I will list some detailed business efforts to enable you to accomplish this list of critical objectives.
1. Have a detailed discussion with the CFO, accountant or finance officer about the financial statements and P & L;  Where the business was prior, is currently and where it needs to be.  Ask for inputs, ideas and suggestions
2. Have a detailed discussion with the HR Human Resource Director about many things;

a. Company benefits & costs, good, bad, needing improvements
b. Request a wage analysis of all job positions and market comparison
c. Level of skills, expertise and education of employees and staff
d. Request that every employee update their personnel files of their information or resume with their skills, expertise, experience, trainings and education
e. Education and training funds and programs
f. Training programs internally and what is used externally
g. Incentive programs for suggestions, ideas and improvements
h. Programs for eliminating wastes and decreasing costs and proper financial incentive programs to stimulate such
i. Culture in the business overall and per department or function
j. Recruiting and hiring program to assure highest skilled and educated individuals are found, recruited, hired and retained
k. Issues and challenges
l. Suggestions, ideas and inputs


3. Personally review all updated personal backgrounds of management and supervisory staff and if possible, do the same for all employees.  Uncover strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to utilize staff and employees better
4. Meet with all department managers individually to discuss;

a. Strengths, weaknesses and opportunities
b. Their departments’ situation prior, currently and where they need to be
c. Challenges, issues and obstacles
d. Suggestions, ideas and inputs
5. Personally telephone and travel to customers and clients to introduce yourself, get to know them and their business, their needs, assess performance with customers, and ask for their ideas, suggestions and inputs
6. Request from the marketing and sales departments:

a. an in-depth market analysis, current markets and potential new markets, national and international
b. an in-depth competitive analysis, national and international
c. an in-depth product and service competitive analysis, national and international
d. an in-depth marketing communications competitive analysis
7. MBWA  Management By Walking Around      Frequently walk through all departments to introduce self to employees, get to know each employee, show personal appreciation to them, ask for inputs, ideas and suggestions
8. Meet with all department managers again to discuss initial findings.  From this information, work with each department manager to develop and implement a plan for improvements and advancements, with time lines and measurements
9. Determine who needs additional trainings to be more effective and more competent and who needs to be replaced.  Determine who has skills, expertise and knowledge that can be utilized far more and do so.


10. Meet with operations management, departments’ management, legal advisors and legal counsel, to review compliance to all laws, regulations and codes that are applicable to the business organization

1. Commerce

2. International trade

3. Merchandising

4. Environmental
5. OSHA (US)

6. Labor, EEOC and employment

7. Fire and safety


Review in detail to assure all applicable laws, regulations and codes are acknowledged, respected and fully complied with.


Ignorance or incompetence is no excuse and not a legal defense for any non compliance.


If the business organization is formally found, out of compliance, you can suffer financial fines, get bad publicity and possibly get a bad reputation, and now be under close legal and government scrutiny; all of this can hurt the business.


11. Develop an overall business plan from all of this with objectives and advancements, times lines and measurements; Implement immediately


If you find out that your management staff lack skills, expertise and knowledge to be able to do any of these things, immediately hire an outside business consultant or advisor to help you proceed to accomplish these things.
Time is of essence and you need progressive forward momentum.
You should not wait to improve your staff’s expertise or wait to replace them.
Utilize outside consultants and advisors to help you progress forward on all objectives immediately, while you make the internal changes that are needed.
If you need some help, contact me directly.
Michael Marshall, PhD

“The Business Doctor’



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