Onboarding is traditionally understood to be a process of orienting new employees to the existing people, rules, culture, norms, processes, procedures and behaviors that they’ll need to be successful in their new job. As a leader, however, part of your job is to continually improve your organization.

For this reason, many senior onboarding processes discourage incoming leaders from accomplishing these goals, however unintentionally, because of the focus they place on fitting in, says Ron Ashkenas for Harvard Business Review.

Ashkenas suggests three solutions that foster impact and not just integration:

Set a short-term challenge 

Setting a 100-day, short-term results challenge for the new person right from the beginning can help them get oriented while achieving something of real value. Have the leader get to know primarily the people and processes that are critical for achieving it, rather than trying to meet everyone and learn everything about the organization.

Customize around a question

A second approach is to ask the new leader to identify the most important things they want to learn about the business and the organization and shape much of their onboarding around this. Most high-level people who take new positions have done enough due diligence about their new role that they have a number of smart questions or areas that they are curious about, or assumptions they want to test. So rather than force the new person to learn what you think is important only, build the onboarding curriculum together.

Ask the new person to keep a diary

We’re not talking about a personal diary, this is a diary of observations from each meeting and each day. Then set up a time for them to make a presentation to you, or perhaps you and your leadership team, about what they’ve learned, what didn’t make sense, what they have seen done differently in previous jobs, and so on. This gives the new person permission to think critically and to explore alternatives as a normal part of the process. It also helps the leader to develop a change agenda right from the beginning.

Whenever a new senior leader joins an organization, either from within or from an external firm, they bring fresh perspectives, new ideas and energy for change. To take full advantage of these qualities, don’t mire them in endless learning about the organization as it is now. Instead, challenge them to find opportunities for learning that will help them shape the future.