The first 90 days in a new role or a new company are important to get right. First impressions are difficult to change after 90 days.
There are several common-sense things you need to do when moving into a new situation. Unfortunately, we often see people make significant mistakes in one or more of the areas below. Often the adrenalin from excitement or fear causes people to come on too strong; or conversely, be too laid back. The 90 days go by quickly. If you are too focused on task … the opportunity is lost forever. Use the grace period you normally receive in the first 90 days to lay the groundwork for a successful first year. Key points:
Focus on Listening and Learning
It is easy to see what you would do differently based on your experience. Wait. Make sure you demonstrate interest in what others have done in the past. Ask questions. Show respect. Clearly let them know you want to help build on past successes. If you have been told you were brought in as a “change agent” … don’t be too sure or move too fast. The phrase is often more of a recruiting message than an organizational message.
Use meetings well
Many people will likely create their lasting impression by the way they participate in meetings. Match your vocal and visual approach to those around you who seem to be most effective in meetings. People often come on too strong vocally or visually when they are trying to make their mark in the first 90 days. No one wants a nervous airline pilot. Don’t you be the one making them nervous! If you are making them nervous, you won’t last in the corporate relationship.
Look for “Low Hanging Fruit”
Most situations provide relatively small changes that can bring immediate payback, have low controversy, are easy to implement and within your control. Make those changes and share the credit. Help people think of you as working with them and getting results.
Build your network quickly
Being new is a natural reason to have a meeting, lunch, or coffee with key people in your area as well is in other areas. After 90 days it can be more difficult to orchestrate.
Be ready with a plan by 100 days
After you have made the 90 days work for your personal brand, it’s time for a clear and simple plan. Engage your boss and other stakeholders as well as your team. Be ready to deliver results that are perceptible to others.
Delivering results matter
Set clear expectations. Update others regularly. Avoid unpleasant surprises. Manage your perception as well as your product. Get your results through others.
Bottom line: When joining a new department or company, don’t make it just about results. Relationships matter. Let them get to know you. Share a little more about yourself, your family and your interests than you might have in the past so they can understand more of what you bring to the party. With strong and trusting relationships throughout the company, your early results will actually have a greater impact.