For Ray Schliebs, the new CEO of Big4 Holiday Park, taking part in Undercover Boss Australia during his first week at the company was a chance to be inducted into all aspects of the business.
Affable Schliebs comes to his first day the role with extensive experience in travel, tourism and hospitality. He is at ease with the employees at all levels and demonstrates an open rapport. Years of experience at the front line of travel has equipped him to be a good listener and to relate to a diverse range of people.
The first three months for an executive is a critical time. In that period, new leaders need to understand the organisation and set about achieving early success that will enable their subsequent agenda. Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days, recommends that new executives need to accelerate their learning. By going to a range of parks, Schliebs get to hear from the owners about what is working and what keeps them awake at night, important inputs to the strategic direction of the park.
How can leaders capitalise on being the new kid?
- Introduce yourself. Managers and employees will interpret your comments, behaviours and decisions from the outset.
- Get out and about. Starting in the company is a fantastic reason to see the operations. Start the way you mean to continue.
- Ask open questions. What are you working on? How does that work? What has been working? What would you change? How can I help?
- Listen. Then listen more.
As my mother would say, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
The human face of organ transplant
Australia has one of the highest rates of success for organ transplant operations in the world, yet a transplant rate that is up to 50% lower than other countries. This episode of Undercover Boss included the story of Quentin, a Queensland park franchisee who has been able to continue a life with his family as a result of a successful transplant. For more information on organ donation, visit http://www.donatelife.gov.au/. Ticking the box is not enough, and Donate Life includes resources for you to discuss your wishes with your family.
Disclosure: I have previously provided volunteer communication services for Transplant Australia and currently for ShareLife Australia.