Thriving in the Fishbowl of New Opportunity


Everyone’s watching intently and evaluating rigorously when you step into your new job. You earned this opportunity. Don’t screw it up. New roles, titles, or positions make or break careers.

Rob McCleland, is the new executive director of EQUIP, a global training organization started by John and Larry Maxwell. I spoke with my friend about stepping into new career opportunities.

“Know why you were hired and what you were hired to do. Begin doing it on day one.”

Rob McCleland

Lead to maintain:

Chances are you were hired from within, if your job is to continue on the same organizational path. The people over you expect things to go smoothly and efficiently.

  1. Don’t rock the boat.
  2. Strengthen current projects.
  3. Build new relationships.
  4. Fuel fires.
  5. Start a new initiative that augments current trajectory.

Lead for new wins:

“If you were hired to make change, start on day one.”

Rob McCleland

I asked Rob about leading to change trajectory, pursue the next level, or turn things around. He said:

  1. Establish expectation and boundaries with the board and/or those over you, before you arrive.
  2. Expect a lot; bring a lot. Get your hands dirty.
  3. Identify two or three top priorities that focus energy.
  4. Create urgency. Rally the troops around a “crisis,” or initiative.
  5. Celebrate small wins quick, often, and big.
  6. Never let others doubt your motives. Act in the best interest of the organization, always.
  7. Care for your team.


You don’t earn new results by doing the same thing. Current team members may not like you getting in “their” business. Rob said, if you were hired for change:

  1. Jump in. Change is a hands on activity.
  2. Remember it’s “our” business.
  3. Understand what they’re doing.
  4. Clarify thinking.
  5. Ensure everyone aligns with organizational priorities.
  6. Empower people to take action.
  7. Get out of their way.
  8. Expect results.

Added resource: “Leading Change,” by John Kotter

What key leadership factors are essential when you are hired to make change?