Congratulations! You decided to make a move in your career. You networked, navigated the lengthy interview process, and were offered the job. The time for celebration is at hand! You might be thinking, “the hard work is over, right”? Well, the first stage of the hard work is over. Now you are faced with the first ninety days in your new role which are critical to your long-term success.
How do you hit the ground running? Not in the way you might imagine. Often, we have the urge to dive in and quickly make a big impact. Yet, slowing your pace a bit and getting the lay of the land before jumping into action yields the best results. A misstep at this point, can earn you a reputation that can take quite some time to turn around.
Keys to Success
Here are 10 key tips to set yourself up for success in a new role.
- Be clear on expectations. There are both spoken and unspoken requirements of a role. Gain a clear understanding from your manager of not only the measurable performance expectations but also the intangible ones. What informal rules exist on how to accomplish your job?
- Support your manager. What are your manager’s aspirations? How can you support them in a way that helps them achieve their goals? Get a sense of how they prefer to receive communication, i.e., face-to-face, via email, via text, etc. Understand how frequently they want updates from you. What are the things you need to avoid doing when interacting with this person? How can you make life easier for your manager?
- Take time to observe and learn. New managers and executives sometimes make the mistake of equating success with making rapid changes. Determine how long you have to observe, learn, and then make well-informed decisions about planned changes. The length of time you have available for this will vary with the situation. The point is that you’ll likely have at least a couple of months to map out a plan forward. Resist the urge to jump in too quickly. Hasty decisions often do not end well.
- Create your vision and strategy. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know if you’ve arrived. Identify the key people who should have a voice in establishing a vision for your area of responsibility. Develop a shared vision, determine the strategy to realize it, get buy-in, and communicate the vision and path to get there. Then, ensure you have clear measures of success and hold key players accountable for their contribution to the execution of the vision and strategy.
- Evaluate your team. Take the time to get to know the people on your team. What are each person’s strengths, areas for development, aspirations, motivations, and results? Begin to set expectations with each person. Understand what support each individual needs from you and how you can add value to the team. Determine if you have the right mix of people. What adjustments might need to be made to ensure you have the right team to implement the vision and strategy?
- Align with the culture. What is the culture like in this new organization? Which behaviors are expected, and which behaviors are not tolerated? What are the values of the organization and how are these lived, or not, in day-to-day operations? How does your style fit with the culture and values of the organization? Where do you already fit in well? Where might you need to modify your style (without compromising your own values)?
- Build strategic relationships. There are formal and informal leaders in every organization. Who are the key players in yours? These leaders may be found amongst executives, high potentials, project leaders on key initiatives, and top performers. Which are the most impactful relationships for you to begin building? Building relationships in a strategic way will help to lay the foundation for success.
- Understand the political landscape. Stepping into a new role may bring with it potential land mines. Asking questions that will reveal where to tread lightly will go a long way toward your success.
- Create a personal development plan. Development never ends. With each new step comes a need to deepen one’s knowledge of the industry, the business, or to expand one’s leadership skills. Learning should be a life-long pursuit. Be sure to create a development plan for yourself within the first 90 days in your new role.
- Small wins build momentum. Where are the places where you can begin to make progress without large scale changes? Find some small, impactful, early wins that get the ball rolling while you set the stage to excel in your new role.
Which of these key tips have you successfully used? What others would you like to share?
Adapted with permission by Center for Executive Coaching