So you have aced the three interviews, your references have come back positive and you have accepted the offer. The excitement settles and the realisation dawns that you will be starting a new job!
You probably only had a strategy for the interviews, i.e, you researched the company, spoke to your network to get as much information as possible, learned all the products and services and practiced your interview technique with your recruiter. So all the hard work is done right?
A common mistake people make when starting a new job is not having a plan for the next stage after acing the interview process. Your experience got you the new role, but the new position is not your old one you will very rarely be able to cut and paste what you did perversely into your new responsibilities. That is before you take into account all your new work colleagues, new environment, different expectations and culture, overwhelming isn’t it?
Michael D Watkins (author of “The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter) argues that impressing your manager and colleagues within the first 90 days is essential to your success in your current role, and you thought the hard part was the interview?
Help is at hand! Watkins has developed a plan to help make the first 90 days as successful as possible. Most people will do some parts of the plan automatically, but I found it good to write down the points and keep a work diary (also helps if you have awful memory like myself, and keeping a written log of your achievements)
1. Get to know your new team and promote yourself – try and not get overwhelmed with all that’s going on, make time to try and meet your new team a bit more than the initial introduction. Find out what they do and their responsibilities and how your role will impact them.
2. Accelerate your learning – starting a new role will come with the obligatory inductions and training, a process many people rush through. Be prepared to put in the hard yards now with training. It will give you the foundation to succeed and show your commitment to the company.
3. Observe the culture and the nuances of your new team. Do they have one coffee run in the morning or do you get your own (sounds silly but I know of at least one person who gave a bad impression by starting work and then going and getting a coffee when the rest of the team would bring their coffee with them to work!)
4. Secure early wins – this is critical. It helps build momentum early, gives a positive impression of you to everyone else and gives you focus. Start off small, “I will know all my team’s names and responsibilities by the first week” moving to more challenging goals.
5. Build a relationship with your new boss – learn your new manager’s style and idiosyncrasies, make sure you both understand what is expected of you in the first 30/60/90 days. Remember to be adaptable because process will be different, meetings might go on longer than you like, you might have to do more one on one catch-up than you had to do previously or there might not be a morning huddle. Throw yourself into it, if after 60 days and you are still concerned you can bring it up now.
6. Keep your balance – after moving house, getting married and having children, starting a new job is the next most stressful thing you will do. You’re going to have a wave of new information to learn, people to meet, procedures/products to learn and whole new culture to fit into!! It’s important to keep perspective and have confidence in your ability.
I found myself in this situation at the start of the year, I moved after 4 years from my previous company, a large international firm with over 60 employees in my office to a local boutique consultancy of 6-10 employees. My next blog will look at the challenges I faced after 90 days, and how I used the Watkins plan to succeed in my new role.