Your first 30, 60 and 90 days in a shared service leadership role

Starting a new role in shared services can be a little overwhelming. Imagine starting a new position managing a team in excess of 30, 50 or 100 people, with new systems and new processes, in a completely new environment.

Where would you start? Most of your first 30 days is a learning curve, and a chance to absorb as much info as possible. Break it down into smaller chunks…

30 Days

  • Introduce yourself:

First impressions count. It is important that you understand your team, and they understand you. What are their frustrations, what makes them tick, and what motivates them to go that extra mile? It is important to understand the dynamics of the team initially and they understand your reasons for being hired. Most managers within a shared service are appointed to make change and drive efficiencies within their function. The whole team need to understand the journey you’re on as they will be a fountain of knowledge to help you reach it.

  • Define your role:

Why have you been appointed? Most roles within shared service have a purpose, and you need to define your existence in the role and what you are there to achieve. The team need to understand your motivations too, so you need to be transparent around this and what you are trying to achieve. This way the team will understand why changes are being made.

  • Understand the business and culture:

What is the business strategy? What are the business’ long term goals? Is it to reduce costs, headcount, make processes more efficient or to grow the team to manage an acquisition? Whatever it is, your team in most cases need to be aware of it, to understand your vison and to help you achieve the journey that you’re on. Understanding the product or service of the business is key, as you will need to think outside the box and consider any challenges that the business may face, and how that will impact the wider shared service.

  • Evaluate your own performance:

Monitoring your performance over a 30, 60, and 90-day period is important. Set yourself achievable objectives, short and long term based on what you have set out with your line manager. Once you’ve set yourself these objectives, it is important not just to deliver them but to go above an beyond.

  • Plan…plan…plan….

60 Days

  • What were your observations in the first 30 days?

Start by looking back on your first 30 days. What have you achieved, what objectives did you meet/not meet and how realistic were they?

Did you identify any risks, skills shortages or areas for improvement? This is the perfect time to reflect on your observations and speak up.

  • Implementing new strategies/processes

What needs to be changed? Is it people, process or systems? This is where you will need to consider the changes you want to drive, and again what impact this may have on the wider business. Most importantly, your team, key stakeholders, and wider business should all be ‘bought in’ to the change agenda and just as importantly your customers and suppliers should be too, if the changes could potentially affect them.

  • Start building your own personal brand

It’s important to start building your own personal brand and be recognised for doing things well. You want to use this next 30 days to really step up and show people why you were hired, and what you do well. By now you should have established relationships within the business and have started to help develop your team and potentially upskill them in in certain areas. By now you should understand your key stakeholders too, and how much influence is needed.

  • Get some feedback

It is important now that you obtain regular feedback to ensure your vision aligns with your line managers. Talk around your observations, and future planning, and some of the key points you’re considering changing.

  • Plan, plan, plan…..

90 Days

  • Create an internal comms plan

Align your plan with the business, and create your own strategy and objectives to share with your team and stakeholders, so they have a clear understanding of the journey you’re on. 

  • Present your gatherings

After spending 60 days analysing and absorbing info, it’s now time to present your findings. Show your stakeholders your problems and create solutions of how to make improvements and how you will measure success.

  • Start the transformation

Now it’s time to really get your sleeves rolled up and start making the changes!

Making a good first impression is important when you’re starting any management role, and by now your confidence should have grown and you will have made an impact on the team in some shape or form. Planning your first 30,90 and 60 days is important if you want to achieve your goals.

If you would like to discuss further, email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

Why won’t top performing shared service professions join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.

What makes a good shared service leader?

A good shared service leader

Shared services is a continuously evolving function, and with emerging technologies and ever-changing job titles, it’s important that you set yourself apart from the crowd if you want to become a well-known leader within the industry.

Traditionally, shared service leaders were always judged on their hard skills. Shared services are set up to reduce costs, make processes more efficient and deliver results. However, not all shared service functions have an internal focus, and some are more focussed on delivering a better quality of service their customers, stakeholders and wider business.

So, what skills do you need to be a successful  shared services leader?

Leaderships Skills

Well this one is pretty obvious, really. Leadership skills is one of the most important things you need to have. You need to be the ‘anchor’ for the team and show resilience when going through periods of change. 

Ability to influence

In order to be a successful shared service leader, you will need to have the ability to influence. You will need to influence customers, stakeholders, suppliers as well as your wider team and perhaps the board. You will need to get their buy-in whilst delivering transformation through periods of change.

Commercial mindset

The best leaders within shared service functions will have a commercial mindset and will be more operational than transactional. It’s all about looking at the wider business and understanding how decisions can impact other operations and sometimes the end user.

Tech Savvy

With the rise of robotics, AI and cloud-based systems, it’s important that you can keep up to speed with the latest technologies. With mundane processing tasks being eliminated, this is a great chance to take away some of the tasks the team may call ‘painful’, allowing you to upskill them and utilise them more, which leads nicely to my next point…

Talent attraction and retention

You’re only as good as your team. Building a team with exceptional talent can be difficult. Retaining the team is even harder. In such a candidate driven market it’s important keep your team motivated and challenged as they will no doubt explore opportunities externally. Rotational training, incentive, and continuous development is what most staff want – ensure you get the best team and keep them – enabling you to do the best job possible!

Purpose-driven

Whilst there are some nice shiny job titles and sexy remuneration packages the best share service leaders, in my opinion, are the ones that are passionate about delivering change effectively. It’s all about wanting to add value and pushing to deliver results for the business.

What can I do to develop my skills?

  • Complete online courses/webinars to develop specific skills.
  • Speak at conferences and events.
  • Become a mentor.
  • Attend networking events.
  • Get involved in all aspects of the company and suggest improvements.

What skills do you feel make a good shared services leader? If you would like to discuss further, you can email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

Why won’t top performing shared service professions join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.  

Would you fire your child if they underperformed at work?

Accountability at work


In my job, I meet a lot of senior executives and it surprises me that many don’t address negative issues as head on as you might imagine.

I think a large part of this is to do with accountability.

Simon Sinek summed it up for me, when he said, “would you fire one of your children, if they came home from school with a C grade?!”

Well, of course you wouldn’t. You would support them and help them to do better.

So why is it at work when one of your top performers suddenly starts to have a bad quarter that we immediately go to performance management? When all they probably need is some reassurance and support.

Many leaders use accountability as a draconian way of managing people, it suggests that you can blame others for not doing what they should. When in reality leaders should hold themselves accountable in the chain of events that have led to things not going as planned.

Personally, I prefer the word responsibility, which comes from the heart and suggests a more shared way of thinking.

Some tips to think about:

  • Remember that leadership is about nurturing those who work for you and can often mean taking the blame for things that aren’t entirely your fault.
  • Stop making excuses, set clear expectations and direction for your teams.
  • Embrace mistakes and coach people (rather than blame them!).
  • Communicate problems when they happen, don’t store them up for the future when things become bigger than they really are.

To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

Hiring an Interim Executive? You need to get it right! Discover the 8 step process you should follow, by downloading our free eBook here.

The role leadership plays in shared services

The role leadership plays in shared services
The role leadership plays in shared services

What is the definition of leadership? The person who leads or commands a group, organisation, or country.

Many people ask me what defines a great shared services leader. Whilst this can encompass several different traits, there are usually a handful of personal qualities that a shared service leader should have and demonstrate. Whatever those traits and qualities, there is no doubt the role leadership plays in shared services is huge.

Traditionally, shared service leaders have been judged on their hard skills, such as cost reduction, operational excellence and delivering results. However, it’s 2019 and times have changed. More and more shared service functions require softer skills and more people related skills, to drive success. I guess this puts the saying, “A business is only as good as it’s people.” into perspective.

Communication and vision:

Creating a clear message and vision for your employees is the key to success. Just because something isn’t ‘broken’, it doesn’t mean you can’t fix it. You need a leader who takes the time to fully engage with the team, helping them understand the journey the business is on and influencing them to drive continuous improvement and change. Managing the change agenda is key, and you need to be passionate about this to engage stakeholders and ensure the right message is being delivered. I referenced the saying “if it’s not broken, then don’t fix it” – Imagine trying to change a process, when the individual has done their job like this for the past 10 years. It takes certain skills to get that person to see the benefits in the change.

Embrace technology:

You need leaders who are not afraid to embrace technology. Artificial intelligence and robotics are reshaping the way shared service functions operate. Whilst many think that AI will inevitably lead to headcount reduction, not only does it eliminate monotonous tasks and recurring processing activities, but it gives humans the chance to utilise their skills and add value in a different capacity. AI eliminates errors, increases efficiency, improves the customer experience and, over time, is more cost-effective. Good leaders need to embrace new technologies to help upskill their existing teams.

Look beyond the SSC:

Whilst the above point talks around efficiencies, leaders need to look beyond the shared service and think about effectiveness beyond. What impact does this have on the wider business, as well as your customers and suppliers? Shared services functions aren’t just created to reduce costs, they need to demonstrate high productivity and quality of service, not just internally.

Focus on talent:

Finding good shared services talent is hard. But once you have managed to secure the best talent, it’s important for leaders ensure they retain, develop and progress them.

  • Create an exclusive onboarding programme, so that employees feel valued, and have a clear understanding of what’s expected.
  • Build structured career paths. Give your employees the appetite for progression and encourage their personal development.
  • Maintain a great culture and working environment, where employees feel valued.
  • Reward success.
  • Just because it’s work, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun along the way.

Upskill your existing staff:

It’s important that leaders upskill existing staff and keep them motivated. Having worked in a high-volume invoice processing role, I can relate to some shared services employees when they say their job is repetitive and sometimes mundane. The same monotonous tasks you must do, day in, day out, can be soul destroying. I had the task of solely processing invoices within accounts payable department and it was a delight when a colleague went on holiday, or there was a chance for some rotational training. When you’re given a new task, the chance to learn or simply just do something a bit different, it’s amazing how much you put your mind to it and have a different attitude towards it. As technology and AI develop within shared service functions, as previously mentioned, it’s even more important to upskill your team.

If you would like to discuss the role leadership plays in shared services further, email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

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