Four Things You MUST Do When You Start A New Job!
OK.. you just started your new job or you will very soon.
Just because you have accepted an offer doesn’t mean your job search is over!! Part of a successful job search is to become acclimated and begin to make meaningful contributions as quickly as possible. Your objective is to cement key relationships, get the lay of the land and ….make no mistakes.
Have you ever seen a football player on the way to a sure touchdown inexplicably drop the ball….or stumble and fall…or quit running 100% and get tackled? It happens!! In each case, the player quit before the job was done.
Well, your job search isn’t “done” until you are “On Board”!
As the phrase goes “First Impressions Count”…and think of the first impression period to be the first 90 days. Give yourself a maximum of 90 days to:
1. Figure out who the key players are in your arena…and spend serious face time with them. Not so much that you become a pest, of course, but your objective is to really get to know them and where they fit in. Your boss is one of them of course, but who are the others? Typically, they are those who depend on you for specific assistance or performance on issues and those upon who you likewise depend. Tread cautiously in conversation; some will be more private than others…and don’t get caught up in company nonsense or politics… but engage them professionally to see what makes them tick.
But beware – it may not end with this group. You need “EA” – “Environmental Awareness” to know for sure who fits into this category. For example you want to have a good speaking relationship with the security guard, the cashier in the company cafeteria and the main building receptionist. Even though you don’t count on them directly nor they of you – you want them singing your praises!
2. Determine how you will be evaluated. What is the criteria that your boss will grade you on to determine if he or she made a great hire… or an “ok” hire? You should have started this during the interview process. Now that you have been hired, you probably have a pretty good feel for what those criteria are… but regardless, have that conversation with your boss during the first few days on the job. As the first few weeks roll by confirm that you understood the criteria correctly… and do they reconcile with what you see? Check out the organization’s mission statement. Take the temperature on your performance by scheduling some time with your boss every week or so to ask “How am I doing? ….am I missing anything?…etc.”
3. Determine what the really important things are. And be aware they may not be what they seem to be. Is there an overriding project that senior management is really counting on coming in on time and on budget? Are there major problems or issues to be resolved? Making sure that the “trains run on time” is important, but you need to determine what is #1 on your bosses’ “To Do” list and on his bosses’ “To Do” list as well. You don’t want to be guilty of doing a great job on the mundane, but not really earning your pay by making significant and real contributions to the mission and objectives of your department, your boss and the organization.
4. Be on the way to becoming a “Go To” person. Everywhere of course… but particularly in the areas of greatest importance to the organization. Be curious…see and understand the big picture…pitch in at every opportunity you can to make a difference. Be aware of “turf” issues; always volunteer “Can I give you a hand on this”. And rather than volunteer opinions, ask “Would you like my thoughts on this?” If you see something that doesn’t look quite right – either take care of it… or bring it – diplomatically – to the attention of someone who can take care of it. Being a true “Go To” person requires very good EA (as defined above); you really need to see and be aware of what is going on – both in front of and behind the scenes! Note – this also requires that you do so in an upfront and transparent manner… you are above board at all times!
As a “Go To” person… as time goes on, you will be valued for having been in on the ground floor of past projects, successes, things that didn’t go as expected, etc. It is that collective experience and knowledge that begin to magnify your contributions.
OK… four things to achieve in the first 90 days on the job…write them down and post them on where you will see them daily… and then pledge to make progress towards achieving them…daily. Good Luck!