Your First 90 Days on the Job

I wrote earlier about four critical things you must do when you start a new job (July 17 ‘13 post).

90-day-plan-300x206To recap:

1. Figure out who the key players are in your arena…and spend serious face time with them.

2. Determine how you will be evaluated.

3. Determine what the really important things are.

4. Be on the way to becoming a “Go To” person.

They are critical and should be your first priority…but there a few other very important things  you need to pay attention to during the critical “break-in” period….your first 90 days on the job.

1. Create a personal game plan…. and update it weekly. This personal game plan will be very short term initially… you can’t make plans for what you don’t know (yet). It is essentially a “To Do/To Follow Up On” list broken into groups – the groups being different direct reports (subordinates), different projects, different things you are waiting for something to come back your way for additional action, etc.

Although there are all sorts of online and smartphone/PC applications for such things, I have always preferred to keep this very simple – an 8 ½ x 11 lined pad with pages devoted to each “group”. Makes it easy to refer and write to it day and night. The top sheet is blank except for my name and tele # and a request to get it to me if found – it is really important to me… and while I have never lost one… that doesn’t mean I won’t someday <smile>!

Just label each page as to who/what it applies to…when full… go the next blank page. Number the pages by group.

Much of it will truly be “To Do/To Follow Up On” things.. but the reason I reference it as a “game plan” is that it will also have a series of personal objectives there as well. I use a few sheets at the very end of the pad to jot them down and update/revise as necessary.

By putting it all on one pad, it is easy to stay on top of your entire breadth of responsibilities…and it goes with your everywhere! And when it is full – don’t throw it away for a year or so… you might be surprised to see how often you go back and refer to it.

Finally – due to the nature of what you have recorded here – you need to safeguard it very carefully!!

2. Create a reference guide…and update it as frequently as daily. This is a continuing list of “stuff” you will refer to from time to time – such things as procedures, names , tele numbers and email addresses, driving directions, tax ID #s, important deadline dates for whatever  – you get the idea – the stuff you don’t want to have to look up or ask about a second time.

As of this writing, there is a neat pc program called “Evernote” that can really make life easier in this regard.  http://evernote.com   Install it on your PC and your smart phone.. and synch them. That way you can do data entry and retrieval from either. Of course names with tele numbers, addresses and email addresses go into whatever program your employer has set up – usually Outlook.

3. Get a grip on whatever numbers are important to your sphere of responsibility.

You gotta know the numbers. Sales, margins, costs, profits, percentages, ratios, benchmarks. Whatever is important to the objective of getting it done on time and on (or under!) budget.

Every business has ratios and relationships. For example a friend in the hotel business tells me that she staffs housekeepers based on 14. One housekeeper per 14 rooms to be cleaned. Every sales position has a ratio of contacts to presentations to closes. Find out which ratios are relevant to your job, your department, etc.

4. Determine who the external resources are and establish contact with them.

If your job requires you to deal with others external to your organization, make a point to determine who they are and make contact with them.  They might be customers or vendors. They may be outside resources such as lawyers, accountants, bankers, auditors, etc.

Talk to your boss to determine who they might be and be pro-active by reaching out to them. Introduce yourself and let them know they can count on your for whatever role has been the norm in the past.

OK… you now have some guidelines and marching orders for your first 90 days in your new job!

Feel free to post here for the benefit of others your thoughts and ideas you have found successful in this regard!! Thanks!!

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Four Things You MUST Do When You Start A New Job!

Four Things You MUST Do When You Start A New Job!

first 90 daysGetting “On Board”; What To Do…and Not To Do… in the First 90 days!

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 jobwrite them down and post them on where you will see them daily… and then pledge to make progress towards achieving them…daily. Good Luck!

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