This week, one of my clients takes a great step towards his lifestyle & working goals, by starting a new job in a more senior & global role. This new role offers him a fantastic opportunity to reach his long-term objectives and also means a period of change for his work and personal life.
His determination to succeed in this role is very high, despite being in a new country, as it represents a great opportunity for him. At our last session, he suggested that we focus our next session on how he can make the most impact in his first 3 – 6 months of his new job.
Prior to the session, I suggested he read The First 90 Days, a great book which outlines a range of strategies and practicalities when starting a new job. This book has 10 strategies when starting a new job, which I’ve outlined below.
1. PROMOTE YOURSELF. Make a mental break from your old job. Prepare to take charge in the new one. Don’t assume that what has made you successful so far will continue to do so. The dangers of sticking with what you know, working hard at doing it, and failing miserably are very real.
2. ACCELERATE YOUR LEARNING. Climb the learning curve as fast as you can in your new organization. Understand markets, products, technologies, systems, and structures, as well as its culture and politics. It feels like drinking from a fire hose. So you have to be systematic and focused about deciding what you need to learn.
3. MATCH STRATEGY TO SITUATION. There are no universal rules for success in transitions. You need to diagnose the business situation accurately and clarify its challenges and opportunities. The author identifies four very different situations: launching a start-up, leading a turnaround, devising a realignment, and sustaining a high-performing unit. You need to know what your unique situation looks like before you develop your action plan.
4. SECURE EARLY WINS. Early victories build your credibility and create momentum. They create virtuous cycles that leverage organizational energy. In the first few weeks, you need to identify opportunities to build personal credibility. In the first 90 days, you need to identify ways to create value and improve business results.
5. NEGOTIATE SUCCESS. You need to figure out how to build a productive working relationship with your new boss and manage his or her expectations. No other relationship is more important. This means having a series of critical talks about the situation, expectations, style, resources, and your personal development. Crucially, it means developing and gaining consensus on your 90-day plan.
6. ACHIEVE ALIGNMENT. The higher you rise in an organization, the more you have to play the role of organizational architect. This means figuring out whether the organization’s strategy is sound, bringing its structure into alignment with its strategy, and developing the systems and skills bases necessary to realize strategic intent.
7. BUILD YOUR TEAM. If you are inheriting a team, you will need to evaluate its members. Perhaps you need to restructure it to better meet demands of the situation. Your willingness to make tough early personnel calls and your capacity to select the right people for the right positions are among the most important drivers of success during your transition.
8. CREATE COALITIONS. Your success will depend on your ability to influence people outside your direct line of control. Supportive alliances, both internal and external, will be necessary to achieve your goals. To understand how to influence more effectively, I suggest Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion (simple and easy to read) and also Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (builds more on the psychology behind influencing).
9. KEEP YOUR BALANCE. The risks of losing perspective, getting isolated, and making bad calls are ever present during transitions. The right advice-and-counsel network is an indispensable resource
10. EXPEDITE EVERYONE. Finally, you need to help everyone else – direct reports, bosses, and peers – accelerate their own transitions. The quicker you can get your new direct reports up to speed, the more you will help your own performance.
These strategies were the back bone of our discussions, in particular in developing his own plan. In our discussion, I asked him what he would have done differently when he started his last job, and the biggest thing was that he would be clear & forthright about his role and how other people could impact on his success with this role. To that end, he committed to writing a 3o second “elevator pitch” which highlighted his key goals in the role and how they would impact the business.
I am confident that this client will be very successful in his new role, despite the big upheavals in his personal life as he is truly committed to making it a success, and I expect in about 18 months that he will be achieving another promotion as he starts briskly out of his blocks in this new job.