Chartered Management Institute: In my opinion

Chartered Management Institute Companion Sandra Macleod, CEO of Echo Research, believes listening is essential for new leaders.

There is a well-known quip about a local who, when asked for directions by a stranger, answers: 'If I were you, I wouldn't have started from here.' Much has been said about the opportunities that the first 100 days offer a new leader to mark their journey of leadership, but occasionally the blindingly obvious is overlooked in favour of more grandiose, complex plans destined to go nowhere fast. If such leaders had taken the time to take stock, listen and consider the basics, would they have started from there?

British Airways' new chief executive Willie Walsh has wasted no time.

Just three days after his appointment and with support from his predecessor, he outlined his priorities for the first year. Cadbury Schweppes CEO Todd Stitzer and Mark Hurd at Hewlett-Packard also took notably swift yet highly considered action once at the helm.

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