It’s long been tradition that national leaders (presidents, prime ministers, etc.) are being evaluated in their new role for the first time after 100 days

And for a good reason – it’s typically within the first 100 days you’re able to / should be able to assess the situation and carve out the first steps towards the change you strive to do in the new position

To me this holds true regardless (almost) of job function and whether you’re transferring to a new job in your company or changing to a new position outside your company

I’ve changed my roles, and my employers, quite some times during my career and I feel I’m seasoned enough to give you my take on how to get the best start in a new position, follow these six steps and you’re off to a good start

  1. How did you get there – understand the hiring process so you can create hypothesis’ of how your new colleagues will welcome you
  2. Assess the situation and environment – meet with all in your department and key people from related departments; create a stakeholder map for your position
  3. Draft your beliefs of what you should do and set initial, tangible and measurable targets – and test your beliefs and targets with the key stakeholders
  4. Adjust and adapt, but don’t forget yourself (you’re hired for a reason) and create an actionable plan for the following three to six months
  5. Sell’ the plan and actions to your peers
  6. Establish a performance management system (even the simplest one will do) around the actions and follow up

 

BEFORE

How did you get there?

In a perfect world, everybody would welcome you, as you would be another strong resource to secure the success of the company that hired you

In a perfect world.

In the real world, chances are you’re landing in the hornets’ nest, as there have probably been internal applicants for the job or – if you take on a management position – you’ll be replacing a manager or even worse, being manager to the existing manager

That’s the likely situation and you need to understand and accept this in order for you to find a way of dealing with it

This first step begins even before your first day at work, as you would need to talk to the people who hired you to better understand the current situation of the environment where you’ll be working

Make sure to ask a lot of questions and be very clear about you don’t mind hearing the truth as some employers could be reluctant to tell you ‘how bad’ it is

 

1-10 DAYS

Assess the situation and the environment

This is where the action begins; hopefully you’d been able to get an idea of how you fit in and what immediate changes people will see happen upon you entering the door and taking charge of your chair

And this is crucial. Basically you can expect everybody to judge you even by the way you enter the office and say good morning – you’ll still have the benefit of the doubt but be assured that the impressions you give the first day or two will be very, very hard to change going forward

Spend the first days being curious and do not make changes or voice your opinion too loud – be humble, ask questions, more questions and sincerely try to understand both the formal and informal organizational structure

You’ll never uncover the informal organizational structure and hierarchy of power by asking directly; you’ll need to talk about achievements, understand who led large projects or changes in the organization and slowly you’ll uncover the names that’s been driving forces – and hence important stakeholders for your future success too

Do your own business and organization assessment, understand the real business challenges and the perceived business challenges – the first typically being growth, cost control or lack of direction and the latter most often being perceived organizational challenges, too few resources or colleagues feeling the wrong people are holding key positions

 

10-20 DAYS

Draft your beliefs

Once you start to get a solid overview of the business, challenges, stakeholders and organization, you start forming your thoughts on how to fulfill your new role

Make sure when you begin drafting these beliefs that they’re aligned towards the targets that you have – and if you don’t have specific targets, set some. You will need to work towards very specific success criteria for several reasons:

  • If you don’t know your target, how will you know when you hit it?
  • If no target is set, how will your superiors know you’re performing well?
  • With no targets, how can you break down plans for you and your team?

When you feel you have a decent grasp of the organization, markets, business challenges and derived targets, spend some time with the stakeholders to get their feedback

Watch out that you don’t present your ideas and thoughts and final as this’ll only evoke resistance – people need to feel they’re part of the solutions (and most would like to think they came up with the ideas too) so make sure you present the ideas in an explorative way; “I’ve thought of this, what’s your opinion?”

20-35 DAYS

Adjust and Adapt

Based on the feedback you get, it’s time to adjust and adapt your beliefs and targets- a great advise here is to include words, ideas etc. from the people you’ve spoken to as this’ll help getting the vital buy-in once planning and executing begins

However, don’t forget yourself – you’ve been hired to your new position for your competences and skills, so your management expects that you’ll bring this to the table, too

Make sure that you do what you feel is right, but do what you can to incorporate the ideas and thoughts you’ve gathered through your exploration phase

…and then you’re ready

 

35-50 DAYS

‘Sell’ the plan and actions

Final stage is to sit with the team and reach a mutual understanding of your plans and targets – next is, together with the team, to set specific targets and ultimately individual targets for each team member

If you’re the only one, this is easy, and if you’re managing a team, either directly or indirectly, you must ensure that you get buy-in for the plans and actions

Present the plans and make sure all agree that these are the plans – and based on this mutual agreement, let each member suggest what s/he has to do in order to reach the targets set out in the plans

If each team member does not suggest the individual actions needed to reach the plans, chances are that they don’t feel ownership of the projects / processes and hence will not give you the dedication that you need for them – and you – to succeed

 

50-60 DAYS

Establish a performance management system

Based on the agreed targets, plans and actions, set up a simple performance management system to make sure that you – and everybody else can follow the progress and adjust plans and actions if needed

 

60-100 DAYS

Report progress weekly to the team and your superiors to demonstrate movement and to confirm that you’re doing great in your new position

When you feel, and preferably after around 100 days, set up a status meeting with your superiors, report progress results achieved so far and further obstacles identified towards the set targets

Remember – always remember – to suggest solutions to the challenges you identify

Too many are just reporting a problem to management and fail to suggest how to solve it – this is not a viable way forward as it’s most probably your own task to solve the problem, but of course with management support

You’re the one hired to be an expert in your area so don’t expect management or others to give you the solutions – they can guide you and clear the path for you, but you need to tell them what you feel should be done – and preferably more than just one solution

GOOD LUCK
Frederik

 

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