You’ve landed a new role. What’s next? It’s time to create your game plan for the first 90 days on the job.
Realistically, 90 days is not a lot of time — so my first piece of advice is don’t go into a new role expecting to have achieved A, B and C in the first few months. Start small and set the foundations. This will serve you better in the long term.
That said, you should still try to secure some early wins: tangible, small goals that demonstrate alignment between yourself and your organisation. These demonstrate your credibility and set you up for success. Here are what I think should be your key areas of focus.
1. Build relationships with key players
Be prepared to promote yourself and what you do within the organisation. Ideally, your company should introduce you to key stakeholders and colleagues, however the reality is that many organisations are not effective at their orientation processes. That means it’s up to you be proactive – it’s absolutely essential to earn the respect of your boss, peers and subordinates in the early stages of a new role. Without respect, you won’t find success.
However, it’s crucial that you avoid politics. Work hard and keep your nose clean. The biggest thing is staying grounded in your role and remembering that you are new.
2. Establish a strong leadership position
A new role offers you a clean slate. That means you have the opportunity to highlight your best qualities and really improve on the personal characteristics you know you need to.
The first 90 days are about sending the right message and creating standards. It’s vital that you take personal responsibility for your team and its results. Some people will go in with an attitude of “I’m new to the business so I’m not responsible.” That’s not the case. Step up now and build trust with your team. On that note, the more you listen to others, the more likely it is that they will open up and provide suggestions or information you will need to perform well in your role.
3. Take stock before making changes
There’s very little you can do to reflect change in the first 90 days. Listen to others, earn your stripes and gain the respect required of the position. It’s less about making changes and more about getting to know the business and planning what changes you want to make in the future.
Be open to adapting to new ways of doing things. Don’t come in with the attitude of “this is how we did it at my last company” because you are no longer with your last company. Be careful of making any negative assessments too soon and bear in mind that the project you are assessing is likely the brainchild of one of your new key contacts. Note that one individual is not going to change an organisation’s culture, so it’s up to you to assimilate.
At the end of the first 90 days you should:
- Have an idea of what you want your team structure to look like moving forward.
- Have strong relationships with key internal players – including seniors, subordinates and co-workers at your level.
- Have a clear idea of what changes you’d like to make in the coming months.
- Have already achieved a number of small wins
The first 90 days in a role are crucial to your success. In this period, your focus should be to:
- Build relationships with key players without getting involved in office politics
- Establish a strong leadership position without being too forceful or disruptive
- Take stock before making change and take the time to learn the business