How do I stay on the good side of “new broom” CEO?

Dear Aunty B,

I have a new CEO and the timing could not be worse. He hasn’t even started yet and is sending emails to everyone describing himself as a “new broom”. He has a reputation for shaking things up. This is a very busy time of year for us with big budget targets to meet, new budgets to get approved and we are in the middle of a merger as well as performance reviews and wotnot. (I am company secretary and HR manager.)

How do I stay on his good side but make sure things stay on track so we don’t get distracted at a crucial time or end up in a heap?

The Sweeper

Dear Sweeper,

You are missing the point. He is coming in to shake things up. So you need to change your thinking. Forget about staying on his good side. He has come in to provide a new direction. Your role is to support him. Be curious and helpful. How does he intend to change things? How can you help him change things? How can you help him succeed in his job? How can you both help the company succeed?

Yes, it is a busy time of year but sit down with New Broom and ask him how he likes the kitchen. Does he like lots of meetings? Or is he an email man? How does he prefer you to communicate with him? How does he like his reports? One page? Loads of detail? What does he want to change? What does he want to know?

At the end of the conversation tell him what you are working on in case he wants to change your priorities or job.

Make sure you book a good holiday later in the year if you are worried about burning out and take a few long weekends in the meantime.

And don’t worry. I would suggest it will take him a few months to start the change process. By then things will be quiet.

Good luck,
Your Aunty B


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