I am big believer in the MT way of management and felt lucky to find the cast "the first rule for new managers" (3/23/08) right before I was moving into a new company in a District manager position. I was transferring from the same position at the chief competitor. 

The core of the "first rule" is essentially resist making changes or implementing new processes for 90 days. Though that guidance struck me hard since it is the exact opposite of my natural inclination developed mainly from military and founding/managing small businesses. I cannot help myself from making mental business improvements in my head in almost every restaurant I visit or hotel lobby that I stand in. I acknowledge that this is something that I need to temper and moderate.

However, I had to post my first question to the group here because I cannot believe that I am alone in feeling like the advice from this cast is just not possible in today's business optemo. I also cannot believe that I am alone in thinking that extending the normal "keep your eyes open, ask questions, and listen" phase of a new leadership position to a full quarter. 

Please reply and tell me if I am wrong. If I am, then I really need to change my whole style and approach to a new leadership role.  Starting with my cadet days, I learned that you always start a new leadership role with humility and respect for the organization by listening and staying "in curiosity" rather than "in judgement" ... And in the case of he army, you better be working everything with you Senior Sergeant. However, if you go 90 days before making corrections and fixing systems, you have gone 90 days without doing your duty.  

In my current role, I manage an oil and gas field labor force and heavy equipment. It is a 24 hour high-risk optemo. In a 3 month waiting period, it is fully  conceivable to have at least 1 job process failure that carries with it 7-figure financial exposure, not to mention the risk of serious injuries if management is not diligent and on point vigilantly. 

I really did try but after a couple weeks, i couldn't sit on my hands and postpone systematic improvements to improve our execution. I am now doing a candid self evaluation of this decision and would really benefit from this groups' perspective on the 90 day rule.  

Thanks in advance,



donm's picture
Training Badge

How do you know if the problem is systemic and not behavioral?

delete_account_per_reacher_145083_dtiller's picture
Training Badge

Hi Brian,

I am in the same boat.  Could only wait until 60 days as it was expressed in my interview these changes were needed and I would need to introduce.  Fortunately, I am making them dated until 90 days out.  In the meantime, I am planning and developing the rollout plan.  Engaging with everyone and getting input and buy-in and making changes as I learn more about the organization and it's needs.

Of course, there were a few minor changes which were obvious and no push back and were more almost comic relief (allowed all employees to update their desktop wallpaper  had previously been banned and I have no idea why - was a very welcome change).

Good luck and hang in there.


fatonka's picture

 Good question. When we had an execution problem or near miss, we would identity the reason by talking to the different people involved and find out the cause. It was safe to make the determination that it was a systematic issue because the answers revealed that the process breakdown was due to the lack of a clear, prescribed process rather than the failure of someone not following one.  

It is not uncommon in my experience. Many operational processes are based on "how it has always been" for rather than actual organizationally prescribed methods. 

fatonka's picture

 This makes me feel better already because I doing much of the same thing. A slow, deliberate roll out, initiated by a workshop involving all the leaders involved in the selected processes to be changed. 

It still violates the cast's golden rule that making changes in the first 90 days is a mistake due to your lack of relationship power and credibility, but I am more worried about the loss of credibility that should happen if I did nothing to address obvious shortcomings for that long. 

RDHodgson's picture

Would it be possible to make your concerns clear, to note the short comings that you believe exist, and to telegraph in a meeting either to your superiors or to your directs that these are areas you'd like to improve change, but that you won't be rolling out changes until X date? You can explain that you need time to observe and prepare the changes? And then you can ask your superiors if they want you to bump things forward? That way, if things do get messed up by old processes, you have something to stand on.



"Now bring me DISC profile 6-1-4-7, your time is up and your feedback's begun!"