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Assuming Leadership: The First 100 Days

November 15, 2002 by Patrick Ducasse and Tom Lutz
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In This Article
  • Leaders of companies are closely scrutinized during their first 100 days in office for signs of long-term success or failure.
  • A new CEO must be highly visible, pragmatically optimistic, action oriented, and willing to listen.
  • A strong report card during the first 100 days can set the tone for the next 1,000.
 

During his first 100 days in office, President Franklin D. Roosevelt “sent 15 messages to Congress, guided 15 major laws to enactment, delivered 10 speeches, held press conferences and cabinet meetings twice a week, conducted talks with foreign heads of state, sponsored an international conference, made all the major decisions in domestic and foreign policy, and never displayed fright or panic and rarely even bad temper.”

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., The Age of Roosevelt: The Coming of the New Deal

Most of our readers will step into a new job at some point in the next five years. Many will be recruited or promoted to the top post in their companies. Their performance during their first 100 days in office will be crucial: friends and foes alike will be watching for signs of long-term success or failure. To come even close to filling FDR’s shoes today, leaders will need to be highly visible, pragmatically optimistic, action oriented, and willing to listen to others’ views.