10 Critical Things To Do When Changing Jobs!

Before you move on……there are 10 Critical Things You Need to Do When Changing Jobs!

moving-up-16814834Congratulations are in order! You are on your way to a new job. Your great resume and  your strong interviewing skills paid off! Exciting times ahead!!

But before you turn in your office keys, however, there are few things to take care of first:

  1.  Jot down full contact information for whomever in your company’s HR department will be processing your exit. You may need to contact them after you have left to iron out any details concerning your 401(k) plan, your COBRA coverage for a bridge until new insurance kicks in, etc.
  2. Print out your address book entries if it is on your employer’s server or in the cloud via your employer’s network. Once you leave you will no longer have access to it. If possible import it into your personal email account and then delete the ones that are not of value.
  3. Forward to your personal email account any emails in your work email account that you want to save or be able to reference in the future. If there are emails that you can add to your “Brag Book” (see my blog post) be sure to do so. While you are at it…see if there is anyone in the organization that might write a letter of recommendation for you that you can include in your Brag Book. Be sure that it includes specifics vs generalities. Don’t overlook others outside of the organization that you might have dealt with – vendors, etc.
  4. Change the details in your LinkedIn profile so that contact info is your personal email and not your work email. Same for other social media.
  5. If you have used your work email address for any credit cards, frequent flyer accounts, etc. be sure to change them. Often that process requires verifications sent to the original email…and you can’t do that if you no longer have access!! Same for phone numbers if you had a company cell phone and used that number as contact info for credit cards, etc.
  6. Know what you are entitled to with regard to un-used vacation pay. Sick pay usually isn’t paid but vacation pay is. If you have receipts to put against a Flex Plan do so…and find out where to send them after you leave to clean out the balance left behind.
  7. Pack up your stuff …but only YOUR stuff!! If you have some of your employer’s stuff at home – bring it in and be sure someone vouches for its receipt.
  8. If there will be an exit interview think it through and prepare for it. If there are areas where improvement can be made and that won’t be overly critical of the organization or specific people – mention it. Don’t, however, blast people or policies that can’t be fixed or that you are critical of but others don’t seem to be. Remember….you will need the organization’s goodwill in the future for a reference.
  9. If you have an employment agreement, get a copy of it. If it includes prohibitions against certain practices once you have left – know what they are and observe them.
  10. Finally make the rounds. Thank all you have worked with for the opportunity to do so and let them know how to reach you if you can be of assistance to them in the future.

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4 Tips to Successfully Start a New Job!

4 Tips to Successfully Start a New Job!

Top 4Just as there is “only one first impression”…so it is with starting a new job. Start off poorly and you will at best be playing catch-up. You wrote and re-wrote your resume, you interviewed  successfully and accepted a job offer. There is still much to do to leverage that job offer into the next step towards a successful career!!

Print this blog post and carry it with you as you begin your new job. Refer to the 4 tips and be sure you follow them!!

1. Introduce yourself to everyone. Especially those in other departments that you run into in the cafeteria, parking lot, hallways, etc. With the same confident smile and handshake you used during all of your interviews. Have an introductory statement “Hi – my name is Robb Mulberger and I am the new controller  here at XYZ.” Make note of their name and ask where they work in the organization if it is not offered. As soon as you can write it down – in fact you can do it right on the spot with the comment “I have met so many new people here – I want to jot down your name to help me get acclimated!” Enter all of these into your contact list but also prepare a typed “cheat sheet” you will carry with you until you know who is who. Always address people by their names – “Hi Bill”…or “Good morning Susan” – not just a simple “Good morning” –  it will impress folks that you took the time to remember their name, especially those you don’t interact with on a regular basis!

2. Be organized. I use Outlook’s calendar feature synced to my iPhone. I make liberal use of the “alert” feature when adding an appointment or task via my iPhone (“reminder” on your PC’s Outlook access) to prevent me forgetting an appointment or pre-determined action to be taken (make a phone call, mail a document, etc.). I also print the Outlook calendar month-by-month for six months and carry it in my briefcase . On it I pencil in appointments since it was printed as I enter them either via my PC or iPhone. Never throw away past months – keep them as a diary of past events. The objective is to be really organized and never miss a task. Get up to speed with your employer’s internal communications processes (email, tele systems, etc.).

3. Create a job reference manual. In addition to the “cheat sheet” list of names and job responsibility you created, make note of other helpful pieces of information such as your new company’s website and site map to find employee information, mission statement, etc. During the interview and hiring process you no doubt determined how you would be evaluated and what the definition of success in your job is. Write this down in bold ….burn it into your brain… so as you go about your job you are focused on what is important to your success.

4. Listen more than you talk … at least during your first few months on the job. Be sure you know the “lay of the land” before you offer any opinions. Few things are more of a turn-off than a new person becoming a know-it-all! Listen and learn how things are done before you chime in.

OK… 4 tips to successfully starting a new job. Follow them and you will get off to a good start to career success!

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“On-Boarding” Yourself – Avoiding the Mistakes that New Hires Can Make!

A procedure followed by most organizations when someone new is hired is to go through an “On-Boarding process – a process  to get the new hire oriented and off to a good and solid start.

Let’s talk about the sales-onboarding-Sales-Management-Workshop-300x213process of you On-Boarding yourself to avoid some common mistakes new hires can make!!

Just as first impression count – so do mistakes and displays of poor judgment during your first months on the job. After time – you will figure it out – or you will be gone! The key is to have a roadmap of do’s and don’ts to follow from day one.

  1. Dress and act on day one as you did for your interviews – day one on the job is still “show time”. As is week one and month one! Dress and act accordingly. Over the first several weeks – take measure of how people dress, how informal or formal is the culture. Adjust gradually as may be appropriate…but don’t be on the cutting edge – don’t dress to match the most casual or to mirror the most informal of those you work with. What you don’t want to do is to stand out in this regard!
  2. Pay attention to processes and procedures – take notes as may be needed. You may be given some written manuals or instructions as to certain aspects of your job. If not – take notes as things are described and/or as you are trained. What you don’t want to do is to require repetitive briefings on procedures and processes you could have captured in writing for future reference as needed!
  3. Sweat the small stuff. Operate in an error-free mode. Check your work and proofread.  You want to be – and be thought of – as a “Go-To” person. Those people don’t make mistakes – and if they do – they only make them once!  A great mindset I encourage everyone to adopt is “Do each and every task – no matter how small – with the skill, precision and efficiency of which you can be justly proud”. If you are asked to do some menial work – do it and do it in a first-class matter. It will be noticed.
  4. Minimize (truly!)  the social networking/media/texting, etc.  while on the job. First of all – when in a meeting or in a conversation – NEVER check emails or see what triggered the sound announcing an incoming whatever (news flash, text, etc.). It is just plain rude! Check email and respond to texts, etc. during breaks – not while you are focusing on the work at hand. Constant checking and responding breaks your focus on your work …and your inattention to the work at hand will be noticed!
  5. Avoid engaging in an office romance. They rarely end well, are NEVER a secret, can be very disruptive to morale. And if you do – against this advice – NEVER do so with a boss or subordinate… that is a job-losing course of action! And if you do – against this advice – NEVER do so while new on the job – don’t treat your workplace in such a cavalier manner!

Only you are responsible to manage your career…and that responsibility begins fresh each time you take a new job. Whether or not your new employer has an On-Boarding process for you to follow , set one up for yourself using these guidelines. Devise and manage your own On-Boarding process – one that will avoid job-ending mistakes! Good luck!

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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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Taking Charge When Taking Over

Taking Charge When Taking Over

Where to begin when you are hired to be the boss??

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By Marshall Brown, CPCC, President Marshall Brown & Associates. Published in Association TRENDS. Reprinted with permission. While this specifically is geared to a trade association executive, the issues are the same that need to be addressed when a manager at any level is hired to take over an existing team.

Q: I recently became the CEO of a mid-sized association and will be managing a staff of 30. I would like to develop and convey some clear expectations for the staff and give the directors some guidance on implementation. Any tips would be appreciated.

Brown: Too often, executives seem to lead through mental telepathy. Rather than set and communicate clear expectations – the milestones against which we test our progress – they assume their managers and employees know what to do and how to do it. What results is hesitation, indecision and uncertainty. Healthy teamwork, initiative and productivity go out the window.

Properly setting expectations for directors and employees/team members is a critical dimension in quality workplaces, according to a study of managers undertaken in the 1990s by the Gallup Organization. Below are some tips for both you and your directors on setting clear expectations that will set standards for excellence and results:

1. Start with a vision of what you want the end result to look like. Not just what you want done, but the results you want to achieve when the project is completed.

2. Discuss how you define “excellent performance.” Paint a complete picture. Refer to your performance review form. Don’t assume.

3. Focus on the desired outcome, not on describing each and every step. Your goal is to guide, not control. Letting individuals find their own route toward productive outcomes encourages them to use their strengths.

4. Tie the mission of the department to each job. People want to know that their role, whether large or small, makes a difference.

5. Put the expectations in writing.

6. Stay on the sideline. You may be tempted to step in and ‘play the game’ for a subordinate, but if you do, no one will learn.

7. Give feedback, and often! The annual performance review is too late to let staff members know how they are meeting your expectations. Schedule informal review time weekly (quarterly for larger departments). Feedback given along the way sounds more like coaching, not like punishment.

8. Ask for staff members’ feedback on how they think they are doing. Two-way communication clarifies expectations.

9. Give positive reinforcement. Don’t mix negative and positive. Mention the thing you like and you’ll get more of it. Be specific and prompt.

10. Don’t take it personally. When staff members don’t perform as you think they should have, look for solutions, not blame.

This article was originally published in the March 2011 edition of Marshall Brown & Associates’ It’s All About You! Ezine.

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