“The day has arrived when you share your talent with the world.” – Anonymous
Change is exciting, especially when you have been blessed with a new opportunity to share your talents with others. Still, stepping into a new role can be challenging. New places, faces, cultures and expectations can overwhelm and it’s not uncommon for many professionals to second guess the decision once the novelty of the first few days fades away. But these first 90 days are critical. In order to not lose your momentum, enter with a plan for achieving your most important objectives and standing out as a high-potential or innovative leader. Whether you’re an incoming graduate or new C.E.O. if you want to secure a long-lasting positive experience at your new organization, make your first 90 days count.
Here are a few ways to make that happen:
Be Ready to Learn. Regardless of your experience, title and level of authority, you have a lot to learn about your new role and new organization. Tap into the wisdom of those who’ve been there for a while as well as those who are also acclimating to their new environment, too. Even if you’re the top dog, vulnerability is key to developing sustainable relationships, respect and insight. Schedule time to get to know team members one-on-one, then ask open-ended questions and listen thoughtfully. This is not only the best way to learn more about the culture, opportunities and concerns, but it also solidifies mutual respect. When others see your willingness to be open to their ideas and expertise, they are more likely to follow your vision and be open to your suggestions for change.
Gain Situational Clarity. Now that you’re in your new position, you’ll get a truer perspective of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. This is the prime time to diagnose why you’ve been brought into this position and how your personal “value” will contribute significantly and make positive changes to the organization. Consider using a SWOT Analysis to identify your (and your teams) strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and build a six-month strategic plan infused with success metrics to accomplish your most important goals. Additionally, thoughtfully gain support from key players and always be transparent about your intent.
Respect Authority and Traditions. Though you may be overflowing with new ideas and plans for organizational change, tread cautiously. Making bold changes right away can be ostracizing. While there is always room for innovation, deep-seated traditions are at the heart of company culture. So instead of heading into your first 90 days guns blazing, journal and reflect thoughtfully on your impressions and suggestions for change then look for ways to integrate them into conversations and strategic planning sessions. Tackling change thoughtfully shows respect for existing authority and goes a long way in gaining buy-in for future transformations. If the main objective of your new role is focused on change, take it slow and use the tools of transparency and empowerment to help foster results.
Develop Your Ambassadors. As you get to know those around you, identify colleagues who can support, mentor and challenge you to be your best. This supportive network will counsel to you from all sides and help you when you face setbacks or require objective insights. Having a group of trusted ambassadors will make your work experience that much more enticing. You’ll find yourself growing more at ease.
Plan for Progressive Growth. Design a plan for professional development that invites increasing responsibility and honing of skills and strengths. While everything is new and you’re seeking a sense of comfort and stability, it’s easy to dismiss of the idea of change. Avoid this career-derailing trap with your growth plan. Explore internal and external opportunities for training, mentoring and self-development.
Try New Things. Believing that success is doing the same thing in the same way that you’ve always done things is a fatal mistake. A new position and/or a new organization will definitely challenge you to grow and change and be open to new ways of doing things. Look for unique ways to get involved and take part in engagement building activities. Also, be prepared to experiment with trying out different ways to achieve your desired results. Your new colleagues may be resistant to novel methodologies until you’ve proven yourself as a positive fit. It’s your job to rise to this challenge while still being able to move forward and put your personal mark on all that you do.