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Your 90 Day Plan: Three Critical Steps to Onboard Your Chief of Staff

Once the ideal Chief of Staff is hired, it’s time to create a plan for the first 90 days. The initial 90 days is critical for integrating the Chief of Staff into the organization as this person will play a key role across the entire company. 

During this period, focusing on three specific areas will establish the foundation and, set the tone for success: building relationships, defining the role and determining priorities. Let’s break this down a bit to lay the basis for a successful Chief of Staff hire:

1.  Building relationships

A Chief of Staff most often supports the CEO or other executive. So, building trust between this leader and the Chief of Staff is essential during the first 90 days. By having a regular and open dialogue regarding each of your goals and expectations for the role, this trust can start to deepen. These conversations should occur at least once a day as a starting point.

Also, as the Chief of Staff interacts with other members of the leadership team, creating credibility among all the executives is crucial. During the first 90 days, the Chief of Staff may want to set up meetings with each executive, and any other stakeholders, to build rapport and better understand their needs.

2. Defining the role

While the Chief of Staff’s purpose is usually explained in the job description, the on-site experience allows for first hand exposure to the current state of your business. And, the best way to be immersed in the business is by shadowing meetings with stakeholders. This step allows the Chief of Staff to observe interactions among team members, learn current pain points and start to document areas for improvement.

3. Determining priorities

Once the Chief of Staff has met with individual stakeholders and attended meetings, they can then approach the CEO with a prioritized list of goals that support the purpose of the role. These goals can then be broken down into smaller tasks. Then the real work can begin.

A Chief of Staff’s first 90 days sets the framework for the role. So it’s very important to spend this time focusing on these three steps. If this is done properly, trusting relationships will be built and role clarity will be established between the Chief of Staff and executive.

Written by Amy Jarosky, Chiefly Consultant. 

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