Whether you have just gotten a new job or have been promoted within your company, achieving swift success in your new role is crucial. The first 90-100 days in your new position can determine your long-term future growth within the organization. Likely, you are focusing on:
- Creating job security
- Making a great first impression
- Understanding internal politics
- Developing a strategy for success
What factors should be top of mind when preparing for prosperity in your new role?
Working with your new manager, what are your 90 day, annual, and long term goals? What are the critical numbers that indicate success? Have these goals and timelines documented for reference. Alignment on what success looks like is paramount. And, alignment should be between you, your manager, your team, and stakeholders.
What Makes Your Boss Look Good?
A mentor and successful finance leader, once told me early in my career:
“Your job is to make your boss look good.”
Understand what motivates and drives your boss. How does he or she like to be communicated with? What pieces of your role are crucial to making him or her look good? What could you do that would make your boss look bad? Your relationship with your manager is the most important of all; gain detailed clarity on how to create a solid relationship.
Bond with Your Team
Additionally, your team will want to have the same critical relationship with you. Get to know everyone, understanding why he enjoys his role, what he needs to be successful, share what you need from him, and determine how you will formally meet. I always recommend clients have a notebook for each employee for recording weekly 1 to 1 meeting notes. This helps both stay on track with details.
Figure Out How to Fit In
There are so many unwritten rules within an organization. These can range from how people dress to language used. Early and fast, determine the unwritten norms and values of the organization. What are the informal ways of getting things done? Although you want to be authentic, appearing eccentric can damage your new reputation and impact prosperity in your new role.
Determine the Influencers
Every organization, like unwritten cultural norms, has an informal, undocumented influence dynamic. For example, I have witnessed executive assistants with more power than other executives. Additionally, determine the top projects, departments, groups, etc. With whom should you be aligned, based on your key objectives? How do you influence the influencers?
Once identified, how do you influence them? What value do you bring, what do they bring, and how can you work most effectively together?
Guilty by Association
As a caution, understand who not to align with as well. I had a manager and mentor give me excellent advice early in my career. During my first week on the job, a group of women my age invited me to lunch. Thrilled to be included, I accepted. Upon returning, my manager cautioned me to be mindful of which groups I socialized with. I came to realize that group had a reputation for bringing drama and negativity to the organization.
Avoid Booby Traps
I cannot stress enough the importance of laying low until you understand your environment. There will be pet projects you look at and think, “that’s the biggest waste of time and money I have ever seen!”. Keep in mind, it may be a pet project of an influencer or someone with high power. Your first 90 days is not the time to challenge this.
Also, consider who you should not offend and understand boundaries. Most people know not to bring up religion and politics. But, you may be working with an individual sensitive to talk or questions about family and personal lives. Until you are certain where boundaries lie, watch what you say.
Develop a Strategy
Within your first week, create a strategy. How will you achieve your 90 day goals? How will you achieve annual and long term goals? Who will you align with and what projects will you prioritize? These are just a few of many strategic considerations. Regardless of what your strategy includes, have a plan for prosperity in your new role.