Part Sixteen: The First 90 Days

This is the sixteenth part of a series of mini guides which aims to help you find a career you love. They include tips from me but also practical advice from some of the hundreds of individuals who I have coached over the last 10 years, the sort of things they may have shared with friends or family going through a career move.

Before you start in your new role ensure you have the right background information to feel confident on your first day. Determine who you would like to be introduced to in your first few weeks. This will include your peers, your boss and your stakeholders. Also, put together a list of what practical information you need to know, such as who do you speak to about IT problems or learning new processes.

First impressions do count, so decide the impression to you want to leave with key stakeholders at the end of the first week. I encourage you to think of the three words that you would like your new colleagues to use to describe them at the end of the first meeting (friendly, knowledgeable, professional, helpful, strong) and work out how you can come across in this way for each stakeholder group.

I also encourage you to practice answers to some of the friendly ‘watercooler questions’ such as a simple ‘so what is your background’. A short thought through response can create the right initial impression whereas an off the cuff rambling answer may not.

Try not to refer to how your previous company did things, it can be very annoying. Rather than ‘my old company did it this way’ try ‘have you thought about doing it this way I have seen it work in the past?’ Try to find out what is expected of you from your boss, peers and stakeholders and then manage those expectations depending upon your knowledge and experience.

Ensure plans for the first few weeks allow reflective time in order to properly assimilate the information presented to you to enable you to make better quality decisions. When you start in a new organisation you will see things more clearly than when you have been there for a few months. Make a note of what you notice with this clarity of vision, it may help you at a later date. Also, uncover the norms and attitudes to change in the new company to identify potential behavioural barriers to your success

“Know what you’re getting into- talk to as many people as you can to understand the realities of the career you’re moving into.” 

“The first 90 days. you gave me a real gem in preparing for stakeholder meetings for the first time. Use linked in, find out about them, find out what I can do to help them.”

“You find yourself in new surroundings with new people, but what is clear is that throughout that corporate lifespan you have built up a toolkit of skills and expertise that are invaluable and can be applied across a variety of roles. You must be open to new ideas yet will find yourself advising and mentoring younger colleagues who see the stage of your career as a yardstick and a goal.”

“Being honest, I did find the first 3 months difficult, which is not surprising having been in one company for 19 years.  However, I soon started to enjoy the new opportunity and the challenge of making improvements in a new organisation.”

This series of mini guides will give you some practical tips and hints from people that have been through it and found what they are looking for. The next one is about retirement.

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