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How to make your first 90 days a success

by on February 26th, 2011

How To Make Your First 90 Days a Success

The first ninety days in your new role are vitally important. You need to quickly establish confidence that you have made the right career move; and if you are confident you have, you want to quickly impress your employer so that they are confident they have hired the right person for the job!

Have you made the right move?

Following the points below will help you decide if you have made the right career move, and it is essential you do so quickly, because in the worst case scenario, if you have made the wrong move, it is best to exit early for the sake of all parties and to protect your career.

Following these points will also help you prepare for your long term employment with the company and enable you to set the foundations for an enjoyable and successful employment term.

Meet key stakeholders

When you first start a new role it is important that you quickly establish who you’re going to be working for and who your key clients are going to be. Often you will meet your line manager during an interview, yet sometimes that isn’t going to be the person you are going to be working closely with, therefore it is essential to meet all the people you are going to be working for as soon as you start your new role. After all, you may love your new boss, yet have a complete personality clash with a key stakeholder you are going to be working with for the foreseeable future.

Hopefully and in most cases you will gel with your new manager and clients and will be looking forward to working with them more closely.

Find out the real reason you were hired

During the interview and recruitment process your new employer will more often than not paint a very rosy picture of the situation you will be going into, it’s only when you actually start in your new role that you will find out the real reason why you were hired . It is always best to do this as quickly as possible.

Was the last incumbent fired, if so why? What did, or didn’t they do? Did the last incumbent leave, and if so why? Why didn’t they want to stay? Is this a completely new role? If so why has the position opened up, if the employer has never employed someone in this capacity before are their expectations of you realistic?

Find out what is expected of you

When meeting your manager and stakeholders establish what they expect of you and what they expect you to be able to deliver. Find out what all of your responsibilities are on a daily/monthly/annual basis, as these may be different from what was on the original job spec.

Establish the current project landscape

How are the current projects you are going to working on faring? Are they on time and budget? Are you going to hit the ground running on these projects or will you need help getting up to speed? The last thing you want is be thrown into the deep end of a project which you don’t have the skills to work on successfully, and be expected to deliver without any support. Hopefully these will be well within your remit and you’ll be able to pick them up and deliver efficiently and impress.

Discover the company culture and working environment

Find out early on if the company culture and working environment is one which will help you to flourish. Does everyone go out together and have a good work/social balance, is the social balance to sociable with lots of time spent at lunch or in the pub, do people not spend any time with each other outside of work. Is it an open plan office, or does everyone have their own cubicles with the boss sat in an office to be rarely seen?

Find out how good the company operational infrastructure is

You won’t know how good the company’s technology, infrastructure, telecoms, operations and procedures and process are like until you start work. When you do, test out everything as soon as you can, is your outlook up and running, do you have a pc and phone yet? Ordinarily this week take a week or two, but if it goes on for a month without good cause, then the alarm bells should start ringing.

Find out what the current employee morale is

From spending time with new co-workers, you can quickly ascertain if they seem happy and motivated or if they just come in and push the buttons to do the minimum required. When you first join the new company speak to everyone from the receptionist to the cleaner and everyone in between, how long have they been there, do they enjoy their job? Is the response one of smiles or gloomy expressions?

Discover how well the company is performing

You may have already looked at the share performance on line or looked at the company growth rate, yet this data will be historic. When you first join find out what this year’s performance forecast is, is company about to sign a big new contract or lose a key customer, what is next year’s strategy?

Establish the skill set of your team

How competent is your team? Are there massive skill-gaps in technical or management ability that you are expected to fill? Does the team work cohesively or are they disenfranchised? You will your number two be and are they brilliant or incompetent?

Find out what training is available

Is the new company proactive about training or do they wait until peer pressure forces them to pay for training? How do they develop people, how is this measured? Is there external training budget available and if not how good is the internal training? Is the training relevant and will it help you to progress?

Have your first monthly meeting with your manager and stakeholders early

Try and have your first meeting to outline your initial objectives as soon as you start your new role. Sometimes with inductions and other tasks taking priority it may be a few weeks before you have the initial meeting, therefore try and engineer this to happen quickly as possible, this will also demonstrate your keenness and are being proactive to get involved straight away. During this meeting you can find out what exactly is initially required from you and whether you have the ability and support to be able to do this.

Hopefully after going through all the points above you are confident you have made the right move and you have already completed most of the tasks you need to do to give you the tools to make an outstanding start to your new career.

Draw up your 30, 60 and 90 day objectives

Now that you’re confident you have made the right move it’s time to get started on hitting your objectives and start adding value to your appointment quickly. From following all the points above you should now know what is expected of you and which projects to start with. Begin with looking for the low hanging fruit; are there projects that have been causing the company difficulty that are easily within your delivery capability? If so begin with these and you could be an immediate hero.

Then look at the longer term picture and balance what you can achieve and what the company priorities are. There’s no point in going for project a just because you can accomplish it if it is last on the company’s list of priorities! Once you have a good idea of your project plan, agree this with your manager and key stakeholders and deliver.

Plan how to deliver your objectives

Plan you time carefully and be prepared to go that extra mile. If you’ve got a time acritical project to deliver, you make no friends by falling behind or failing to deliver because you are clocking in and leaving home on dot. As well as ordinary company/team project planning, set your own separate schedule (as your own 90 day objectives may be far wider reaching) into your calendar on outlook, and to get really on top of things, have a separate project plan system in excel or other.

Other things to consider are to arrange drinks or dinner with your new boss and team to begin building relationships. It demonstrates that you’re a real team player, and don’t be afraid to buy the round! However do remember not to get too drunk on these initial outings!!

Achieve your objectives and hit your targets early

It’s now down to you to achieve the objectives and if you’re really committed to this role, this should be a number one priority for you, ensure that nothing gets in your way. Then when you do achieve your objective make sure everyone knows about it!

Say you going to do something. Do it. Tell everyone about it!


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