Day 1 - 90
Listen and deliver. Ask insightful questions with the brand of a ghost writer. You will naturally educate leadership around what a legal voice in the room is thinking – embrace this role.
People want to hear the “fresh” perspective from an outsider delivered with a touch of humility and lawyerly precision, of course. I found this drinking from the fire hose time simply exhilarating!
Each of my companies had at least one big request from the executive team (almost always contracts related) to set as a priority once a GC was hired in. This one item should be weighed heavily as table stakes for your success and will determine your initial brand.
There will be distractions and you will need to be smart about prioritizing things. You cannot pause a privacy breach or a sensitive employee departure, so handle the fire and quickly shift your focus back to this one item. If there is more than one item, shape the priority list and request input early from the broader executive team and functional leaders.
One really simple and underutilized tool is spelunking – yes, almost literally with a learning attitude. Dive into customer support issues, sit at the lunch tables (virtually?) with engineering, and make that very outspoken sales representative your best friend. These are critical relationships within your business that you won’t build sitting at your desk. Take advantage of this rare window when everyone is interested in meeting someone in legal.
These are my notes from my own successes and failures in past roles as a legal leader. I am happy to connect 1/1 if you want to chat further on any of this. Tune in for my next post in February covering the critical pivot from listening to setting a clear direction that resonates with the company and its risk management objectives.