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The 90-day Plan with Carsten Thiel


A leader is a powerful figure that spans the history of the human race. It is only through collaboration that we have been able to achieve great things as a species, but in order for a group of individuals to have success more often than not there must be a single figure who unifies and encourages change.

Examples of these figures range from Winston Churchill who inspired and rallied the British people during World War II to Martin Luther King Jr. whose calls for equality, freedom, dignity and respect became the bedrock of the civil rights movement.


However, leadership is not only necessary on a large scale. Wherever there needs to be a coming together of people with differing thoughts and opinions to a single cause, a leader is needed for people to look to for guidance. From massive organizations to local governments, leaders can be found throughout our lives, and odds are at one point or another you have found yourself in a position in which you must step forward and lead.


While searching the internet for quick tips may provide you with minor insights, ultimately each situation will be different depending on a number of factors from circumstances to your own personality. Nevertheless, it is prudent to study the actions of other leaders when seeking to improve your own leadership skills. Looking at the paths of others can bring insight into potential pain points you may encounter and illustrate how to avoid making the same mistakes yourself.


Dr. Carsten Thiel, CEO of the oncology and rare disease-focused biopharmaceutical company EUSA Pharma, has had nearly 30 years of experience in leadership. He has worked with teams both large and small for public corporations and small pharmaceutical enterprises. According to Dr. Thiel, the best lesson he has been taught on leadership came from a former boss when he first began his position at Thiel’s company. The incoming CEO told Carsten that in every new company he joins, he commits himself to having one-on-one discussions with over 100 people within his first 90 days.


According to Thiel, he would talk to people throughout the organization from executives to interns, asking each one identical questions: “What do you want me to accomplish for the company? What do you wish to see me change? What are you worried I might do? What do you like and want to keep about the company?”


At first, Carsten thought it strange that the CEO would take valuable time out of his day to have individual discussions with so many people, but he soon realized the value in discovering how those he would lead hoped to see him do it. Since then, he has implemented the process in his own leadership roles, and said that even today he is still surprised by what he hears during those meetings within his first three months in a new position.


Any new leadership position means providing forward momentum that will incite change for the better. However, in order to do so effectively, one must make sure they have a good grasp on the organization itself – most importantly the people who make it up.


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