You did it. You got the job.
Your start date is just around the corner and it is time to relax, right?
Yes and No. I do want you to relax and celebrate your victory but but I also want you to come up with a strategy for your first 90 days in your new role.
These next 90 days are critical. Critical for your success in this new job and critical for your career success. It is your first impression and it sets the tone for the rest of your duration there.
When building your 90 day transition plan there are 6 things that I want you to review, think about and strategize.
1. Take Initiative
This is easy, simply ask for any materials for review prior to start. This shows your future manager that you are one to step up, that you love to be prepared and that you are focused on setting yourself up for success. A great message to send.
Once you start, be open to learning new things. Take the initiative to get to know the whole business and how your role/team/department supports it on its own path to success.
2. Build Relationships
Get to know people. Your team, your department, key people throughout the organization. A crucial part of success is to always surround yourself with a support system. We know this when we are going after a goal but we forget about it when starting a new job.
This is especially scary for introverts or people who are shy. So find a way around it. One thing I always did was to bring pictures and set them up on my desk. There was one of my husband and me from our backpacking days of us on an elephant. I would set that up so that anyone walking by or pausing at my office door or cubicle would see it and they would stop to ask about it. It was a great way for me to build relationships while dealing with the fear of meeting new people.
These relationships are key for your success, they will be the people you go to when you need to vent, ask questions, a shoulder to lean on and keep you accountable.
3. Ask Questions
As you are building relationships you are asking questions. Lots and lots of questions. Gather as much information you can about what people do, what they like about their roles, what they find challenging, how they all work together and support each other. Just keep on asking questions!
Whenever a client and I are discussing their 90 day transition plan and I bring up asking questions when you need help, I get a “well, of course” look. The thing is that yes it is easy to ask questions when you don’t know the answer. At first. But usually 2-4 weeks into our new roles the act of asking for help becomes harder. We feel like we should know it already, or that we are a burden. So then we stumble and struggle our way through it. We go down the path of setting ourselves up for failure instead of the one that sets us up for success.
That is why building relationships is key as it helps deal with this very issue. If we have created a relationship with someone who we know wants us to succeed we feel less like a burden.
I hate to ask for help, I always want to figure it out on my own. I have learned the hard way why this is such a problem. So when starting new jobs I had a system. I would first do everything in my power to find the answer myself. Then I would go to my most trusted peer. And then if they couldn’t help me I would go to my boss. And I made sure to communicate my attempts at solving the problem first.
Prepare yourself to ask questions the WHOLE time you are in the job!
4. Live and Breathe the Culture
Every company is different. It has its own culture and its own personality. So while you are asking all those questions and building those relationships and getting to know the business inside and out, get to know the culture too. What is important to management? What is their definition of hard work, success and collaboration? What is their communication style (emails, memos, meetings)?
Think about how you can integrate this information into how you work such as how you prioritize how to get work done, how you display your own hard work and talk about your successes and how you write emails.
5. Begin with the end in mind
This is a habit of highly successful people. And I always talk about incorporating it into your 90 day transition plan.
For example, say you are moving jobs because you want a better work/life balance and you want to avoid 10-12 hour days. I know when we are first starting out in a new role and we are doing all of the above plus learning how to do the job that it is easy to get in the habit of long work days. But then that habit is really hard to break. On top of that, you are setting expectations. Everyone will get used to you working those long hours so if you do try and break the habit it becomes noticeable and then you may get a bad reputation.
Now I’m not saying to phone it in. If you need that time to get properly on boarded then take it. BUT when it comes to after hours work – try your best to take it home and stay off of email. You are doing the work of learning the role and the company but you are doing it without people knowing you are doing it. That way once you are on boarded and start focusing on that work/life balance no one else will notice. And they’ll be so impressed by your learning capabilities too!
6. Anticipate Challenges
I love anticipating challenges. Figuring out what can derail me or upset me. I love it because I hate surprises and I get anxious not knowing how I will handle certain situations. By anticipating challenges and then coming up with solutions I am more equipped to overcome them with ease. Because let’s face it, challenges are inevitable. It isn’t a matter of if but a matter of when. And to set yourself up for success you will think about what those challenges can look like and then you will picture yourself overcoming them and come up with a plan of action from there!
The first 90 days are some of the most important days that you will have in a new role. It creates your foundation of success. So use these 6 tips to build your own transition plan.
I shared some challenges that I have faced in the past above, I’m curious what are some of the ones you have faced?
Sara Curto helps people find a career they love by teaching them a new way to job search.
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