Presidential Leadership Lessons from FDR’s First 100 Days | Thomas Fox – Compliance Evangelist

The first 100 days. Franklin D Roosevelt’s first term is the standard by which all other presidents are measured for their first days in office. Why? That’s because FDR not only hit the ground running, but also passed legislation that changed the shape of America for years to come. While the first thing he did was declare a holiday to save the country’s banking system, he also passed important legislation to stem the effects of the Great Depression. These bills included the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Federal See more +

The first 100 days. Franklin D Roosevelt’s first term is the standard by which all other presidents are measured for their first days in office. Why? That’s because FDR not only hit the ground running, but also passed legislation that changed the shape of America for years to come. While the first thing he did was declare a holiday to save the country’s banking system, he also passed important legislation to stem the effects of the Great Depression. These bills included the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the National Industrial Recovery Act. He also enacted the Truth-in-Lending and Glass-Steagall Acts to help regulate the stock market, the collapse of which had heralded the economic downturn. While these acts didn’t turn the tide of the Great Depression, they did give people hope because at least it looked like FDR was doing something about the economic calamity.

Now imagine being able to finally land a new role as Chief Compliance Officer in the compliance field. Every company thinks it’s ethical and does business ethically, but what can you do in your first 100 days? Hopefully, you won’t be thrust into a corporate situation as dire as FDR experienced for the United States in 1933, but the reality is that many new leaders are still being judged in those mythical first 100 days.

One obvious thing to generate success in the corporate world is to have a good relationship with your boss. You should have meaningful conversations about expectations, work style, resources, and personal development. To facilitate these discussions, the following points are made:

1. There is no value in trashing the existing compliance program.

2. You must lead discussions with your boss.

3. Your boss is looking for solutions, not problems.

4. Your boss isn’t interested in going through your to-do list.

5. Make sure to connect with people your boss likes and admires, like his mentor.

6. Set expectations.

These first 100 days will be a very high stress period. This may well be compounded by your travel schedule and long hours of work trying to realize the concepts. The right advice and support network is an indispensable resource. Use your outside network of mentors, coaches, and friends you’ve developed over the years to discuss your role in the company and what you’ve been through. The key is to use all the resources available to you for your first 100 days.

Just as FDR accelerated his actions in his first 100 days, a big part of his success was that he accelerated those around him. You must take this key element of FDR’s success to heart in your new role. Ask your direct reports, bosses and peers to accelerate their transitions. The fact that you are in transition means that they are too. The faster you update your new direct reports, the more you will improve your performance.

It is hard to imagine a more difficult situation today than the one the country faced when FDR came to power in 1933. The task must have seemed overwhelming. Starting a new compliance leadership position at a new company can seem just as daunting. You not only need to think about your next steps, but also how to execute them for maximum performance in this early part of your corporate career. See less –

Kevin E. Boling