It was the best advice had ever I ever received.  1987,  Albany NY.  I had just been promoted to Branch Manager of the Albany Offices of Kelly Services.  Sales were flat and the long term manager had just left the company to start her own temporary help firm.  I was brought in to fix things. I was chomping at the bit.

“Don’t make any significant changes for 60 days.  Things aren’t going well, but we really don’t know why.  Spend your first two months getting to know the lay of the land.  Figure out what is going well.  Figure out what is not going well.  Get to know the staff real well.  Listen to them.  Figure out which ones are keepers and which ones aren’t.  Visit as many customers as possible.  In eight weeks, tell me what your plans are for turning this around.  Don’t do anything significant until then.  Keep me posted on what you have learned.”

I remember things being a mess.  But waiting 60 days forced me to dig in and figure out exactly what was right and wrong about the operation.  I was able to determine a starting point.  And it kept me from making changes that would have made things worse.

Essentially, my boss gave me an onboarding plan, a sixty day plan to get up to speed with the entire operation.  Ready, Aim, Fire instead of Ready, Fire, Aim.  The results after 60 days were phenomenal. Increased business, new product line, all without staff turnover or lost customers.

When you add that next important leader, or promote that key employee, give them a sixty day plan, an onboarding plan, that gets them up to speed and keeps them from getting in their own way.

I’ll be posting on this theme for a couple of days.