What is the FastStart™ Program?
The FastStart Program is an executive onboarding program. It is designed to assist new executives to bring their best strategies and thinking to bear on a new business. The program is unique in putting newly‐hired executives in control of their own onboarding. With guidance, they initiate the meetings and gather the information they require in order to formulate an action plan for the business.
Timeframe for the Program
The program is typically held over a period of 3‐6 weeks at the beginning of an executive’s tenure.
Components of the Program
The program begins and ends with action planning discussions between the new executive and his superior. In between, the new executive initiates conversations with other executives, gathers and reviews information he believes to be of value, and formulates his action plan.
How Does the Program Work?
After being hired, an executive meets with his or her boss for a kick‐off session. During this session, the individual’s new boss describes his or her picture of success for the business. He explains the key measurements/indicators of this success. And he explains what he believes to be the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the business.
Relationship building and data gathering
We inform the current executive team that new executives will be contacting them to schedule meetings and request information. We want the current executives to make time for these meetings and be as open as possible in sharing requested information.
The new executive spends anywhere from 1‐3 weeks conducting these meetings. It is preferable to keep other responsibilities to a minimum during this time so that he or she can focus on developing the most thoughtful action plan.
Development of the action plan
After conducting interviews and reviewing requested information and data, the new executive creates an action plan for his or her portion of the business. This plan describes how the executive plans to achieve the picture of success laid out by his superior in the kick‐off meeting.
Presentation of the action plan
The new executive then presents this action plan to his new boss in a review session 30‐60 days following program kick‐off. This presentation provides an opportunity for the person’s new boss to review and assess the plan, provide input, and ensure that they are on the same page regarding the direction of the business and the actions required to achieve success.
Keys to success
It is key to provide new executives with the time to formulate a strong action plan. If they are immediately expected to take over daily management responsibilities and “fight fires,” it limits the effectiveness of this program.
We need to be intentional about educating other executives in the business about the value and intent of this program. Their participation and willingness to share data is key to the program’s success.
There may be information that is not appropriate to share with new executives, but our bias should be toward openness and transparency. The more information we provide to the new executive, the better equipped he or she will be to create a strong initial plan for the business.