How to Make a Good Impression as a New Executive

How to Make a Good Impression as a New Executive

Each week, we ask our experts to answer a career question on behalf of our readers. This week’s question is about making the right impression as a new executive:

"I have just been fortunate to find a nice role in compliance as the Chief Compliance Officer of a global real estate developer/investment firm. It's my first 'executive level' position and I need some help in establishing a good impression, the right kind of impressions... Um... just how to behave with all levels of personnel as I begin establishing myself in this role. What advice is available? Should I even seek this kind of help only two weeks into the job? Should I just let 'nature take her course,' so to speak, and do nothing but focus on my specific tasks." - Julie
Here's what our experts had to say:

Show an Interest

"You need to strike while the iron is hot," says Ben Eubanks of Eubanks advises that you start developing relationships with others, finding out what they do, and so on - be curious! "Even when you can't do that with every single staff member, be known as the person that is courteous and equitable, even when delivering bad news," he says. "You'll earn a measure of respect and appreciation for those efforts. "

Be Helpful

"A compliance officer is in a tricky position and can be viewed as a friend or a foe," says Don Goodman of "You become a foe when you are the policewoman looking for violations. You become a friend when you partner with the various stakeholders to see how you can help them." Goodman suggests you schedule time with the various line managers and executives and ask them what their challenges are and how you can be of assistance. Then you can jointly develop such things as compliance training or awareness programs.

Evaluate Your Role

"Your instincts are correct that you need to immediately think through what you need to do in your new role to be successful," says Dorothy Tannahill-Moran of "One thing many people at your level fail to do is to treat it like a brand new job - and it is." According to Tannahill-Moran, many public firings of CEO's were created by a lack of thoughtful "new job integration planning." Your plan should include:

1.) Your own learning plan 2.) Identification of "quick wins" to build that great first impression 3.) Analysis of your operation including your personnel 4.) Development of a vision, strategy, and execution plan somewhere around 100 days with clear articulation up, down, and sideways 5.) Build relationships 6.) Establish your leadership within your organization and company

Create a 90-Day Plan

"Creating a rough 90-day plan for your goals and objectives in beginning your new job will help you to set your priorities," says Kristin Johnson of "It's easy to get overwhelmed with a new job, so it's essential that you ask for a meeting with your superior. To make sure your understand what needs to be in your plan, ask him or her what a successful on-boarding for you will look like. Meet with your team to uncover possible challenges that need to be addressed." According to Lisa Adams of, getting to know your new organization should be first on the list. "Be intentional to reach out to all levels of the organization, especially your organization," says Adams. "Get to know not only your fellow executives but all of your staff. Decide how you will manage your direct reports and effectively communicate to them and your entire team. Depending on the size of your org, get as close to the individual contributors as possible. This could be through video conferencing, brief 'hello' phone calls, and so on. Next should be your tasks and/or projects you need to tackle immediately plus longer term priorities." Image Credit: Shutterstock
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