Time to "Hit the Ground Running!"
Your first 90 days in a new position (whether at a new company or not) is the period under which you're under close observation -- some consider it the "probationary period" -- the period where you've got to quickly prove your worth and value to your new employer. Perceptions are "cemented" during that time period -- good or bad. So...it's important that you take conscious control over how you perform during this critical period.
Consider these actions and activities as important elements in transitioning effectively into your new position during the first 90 Days:
Before You Start:
- Develop List "A" and List "B". List "A" is a list of declarative sentences that would cause your first 30 days to be a "resounding success" -- develop a similar list for your first 90 days. List "B" is a list of things that would cause your first 30 days to be a disaster. Be creative and think outside the box with both lists. Identify items on both lists that are either (1) under YOUR control or (2) outside of your control.
- "Personal Inspiration" List. Formulate a list of all of the GREAT reasons you chose this job and why it will or could have such a positive influence on your career. Develop this list with a career coach if you have one. This list will serve as your "compass" and inspiration during times of stress on the job.
- Understand the Likely Challenges. Formulate a list of all of the challenges you're likely to face in the first 90 days of employment. Make separate notes for ways you can mitigate or handle these challenges.
- Understand Official Company Policies. Know what's permitted and what's not permitted by company policy. Understand the playing field rules.
- Understand "Unofficial Company Polices (the "Unwritten Rules"). Learn the things that are generally frowned upon or put your at risk if you do them (although not officially against company policy). Ordering an alcoholic drink at lunch, for example, may not be against company policy, but could be frowned upon.
- Develop Your "Listening System". Learn and understand from others. Asking questions is a great way to get to know team members and colleagues across the organization. Spend time with individuals and small groups of people from across the company. Let them know you are counting on them to fill you in on some basics about the company so you can be both more effective and more sensitive to people’s perspective. Questions such as “what’s it really like to work here?” and “How would you describe the culture and the unwritten rules for success?” can yield great insights.
Develop Alliances and Key Relationships:
- Be Approachable, Respectful, Kind and Considerate of EVERYONE. It's okay to be firm when necessary, but firmness plays much better when you're viewed as a considerate manager who cares for your people.
- Share Lunch with Colleagues. Spend lunch time getting to know people on a personal level. This is another great time to ask questions.
- Find a Mentor and Develop a Great Relationship with Him/Her. It's vital to have an ongoing dialog with somebody who knows the company well -- quickly identify the people at your company who can help you and figure out how to get in front of them.
- Identify Your “Trustees” - No one succeeds in an enterprise entirely on his or her own. Early on, decide which few people you can trust with your private thoughts; determine who will be in your inner circle and begin the process of enlistment. Also determine who in the organization can be a secret angel, making good things happen if treated with respect.
- Understand the Political Structure. Find the formal AND informal "seats of power" and develop positive relationships with those individuals (could be that that your colleague's administrative assistant is a family member of the company's owner).
Make Things Happen! -- Deliver Results:
- Avoid Changing the World. Understand fully how things work before you try to change things -- there may be a very good reason WHY things are done the way they're done.
- Avoid Doing "Too Much Too Soon" -- Tread Lightly. It's better to purposely under-commit and over-deliver than vice versa. You don't want to bite off more than you can chew.
- Put Your 90 Day Expectations In Writing - Your 90 Day Plan. Be proactive in developing your key goals for your first 90 days of employment. Sit down with your manager and discuss those expectations, ask for his/her input and make necessary adjustments to your 90 day plan. Before presenting initially, ensure it meets "SMART Goal" standards.
- Tactical Top Ten Lists. What are the top ten key things you want to get done in the first 30 days to establish momentum with your 90 Day Plan? Write them down. Prioritize them. Review them daily and schedule time on your calendar to get them done.
- Score Some "Early Wins." Look for opportunities to score some noticeable "early wins." What are some things on your manager's near term or immediate term "radar screen" that you can handle effectively with positive results. Ensure those things are incorporated into your Tactical Top Ten Lists and your 90 Day Plan.
- Get to Know Your Boss .... Very Well. Your number ONE relationship in your new position .... period. Look for opportunities to spend time with your boss or new manager. Anticipate his or her needs. Make him or her "look good."
- Be Visible. Arrive early and stay bit later, particularly during the early period in your new job tenure. Attend all required meetings -- arrive on time; no exceptions. Be accessible, resourceful, helpful and friendly.
- Practice Personal Excellence; Become a Role Model in Your Boss' Eyes. Step up to the "A Team" with the great tips in THIS article.
Other Excellent Resources to Consider:
- Book: "The First 90 Days" written by Michael Watkins. THE best book on the market for guidance in new job transition situations. A must read.
- Whitepaper: Portions of this article incorporate some of the ideas discussed in this excellent whitepaper written by Stephen H. Baum - www.Stephenhbaumleadership.com.
Co-host, Career Success Radio Show
A leading authority on career success; 15-year executive coaching veteran
Contact: Andy@CRGLeaders.com, 239-285-5575