Your First 100 Days In A New Role Set The Tone

Phil Martens, CEO of aluminium giant Novelis, says he’s a devotee of the “100-day theory” — decide your goals in the first 100 days, and make your trajectory clear.

“Very quickly, you have to decide where you’re going to go,” Martens tells the New York Times. “Otherwise, the organisation will decide for you and will become part of whatever existed before you and whatever will exist after you.”

Martens was brought into Novelis four and half years ago with instructions to turn the global company around. He says he spent the first 100 days visiting the company’s plants and travelling to its international offices, looking for what was consistent between locations and what changed. He also sat down with members of the Novelis leadership team to get their input on various aspects of the company.

The message that he tried to send from the outset, Martens says, was that under his leadership Novelis would be a unified global corporation. “I wanted to make it clear that we were going to have uniform approach,” he explains. “I had shirts made up that said ‘One Novelis,’ and I told everybody at the end of the day: ‘On the way out, there are tables out there with new shirts. If you want to come in to the meeting tomorrow, you have to have it on. If not, you can go find something else.'”

“I wanted to create the image of order,” he concludes, “and that we are together.”

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