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100 Days in “The Wolfpack Nation”

FPRA 2010 Annual Conference: General Session,  Joe Hice, APR, CPRC


Joe Hice, APR, CPRC recently completed his first 100 days in a new job as Chief Communications Officer at NC State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. During that time, Joe learned a little about the complexities and challenges of making the switch. Prior to joining the “Wolfpack,” he was the architect of The Gator Nation campaign at the University of Florida (UF).

The focus of his presentation was his transition to a new university and the “golden rules” he followed during his first 100 days in a senior public relations job.
To start, Hice explained that the first 100 Days are critical because many managers fail in the first 18 months on a new job. To help ensure success, managers must remember that the first 100 days on the job is:

  • A transition period
  • Shorter than you think
  • A period where you are temporarily incompetent in your job
  • A window of opportunity for change
  • A period where your Management expects change
  • A period where the Organization you have taken charge of, expects change

As a result, Hice says, you must take advantage of this and be committed to the following tasks during this time period to succeed:

  • You MUST communicate
  • You need a good plan
  • You must select your Management Team
  • You must communicate strategic themes
  • You must produce results

Hice says strong communication shows leadership and if you don’t do this, you will not lead successfully. During the first 100 days you must create a platform of mutual trust between you and the organization you have taken over. Hice set up a blog called “Hiceschool” to do this and he uses the channel to tell people what he’s doing and why.  It’s helped him achieve his communications’ objectives.

To start building a plan for university communications, Hice admitted to using best practices from his time at UF and other resources. First, he recruited volunteers in the communications departments at NC State to help him. To identify people to fill leadership roles he reached out beyond his own staff and looked to other departments at the university. This allowed him to know all of the communicators on campus. He then merged all of the university communications’ into one central unit and built a strategies team to work on the plan.

Hice says the best team consists of:

  • A mix of new and existing people
  • A mix of external and internal
  • A mix of different leadership styles
  • A mix of young and older mindsets
  • A ”leadership-multiplicator”

Hice also shared what not to do in the first 100 days you are on the job. He relayed how he was caught with a Gator umbrella at a meeting with NC State leadership. He said he thought he was going to be a statistic when the University Chancellor called him to a private meeting right afterwards. Instead, he was given a NC State umbrella.

So, here is Hice’s list of things “Not to Do” during the first 100 days:

  • Don’t talk about your previous job (too much)
  • Don’t hire your team from your previous job
  • Don’t wait too long before you make changes to your Management Team
  • Don’t fall for the ”Big Bang” temptation
  • Don’t open too many fronts at the same time (The Obama Syndrome)
  • Don’t only talk about what you want to change, but also about what you want to preserve
  • Don’t surprise your management
  • Don’t forget you are there to LEAD

Passion Rules!

1 comment

1 Danny Kushmer { 08.11.10 at 2:23 pm }

Great to see you today at the General Session. Great thought-provoking presentation. Thanks.

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