You have important choices to make before Day One. One choice that you must make in advance is how best to engage with the existing culture. Cultural engagement is extremely important in a successful transition, and it is essential that executives know what their cultural engagement plan will be before walking in the door for Day One.
We have developed an ACES model, which lays out three cultural engagement choices: (1) Assimilate, (2) Converge and Evolve, and (3) Shock. After the decision to take the job in the first place, this may be the most important decision you make in your first 100 days. You must pick the right approach if you are to have any hope of a successful transition. It is difficult, if not impossible, to recover from a wrong cultural engagement choice.
Culture can be referred to as "the way we do things here." It's the combination of what people do and say with their underlying core values. While people generally learn about culture starting with the most superficial (what people say about their culture), it's rooted in what people really are, their core assumptions and beliefs. A good shorthand we learned from one of our clients is "Be. Do. Say." It works for people and for organizations:
Be: The underpinning of culture (and integrity) is what people really are, their core assumptions, ...