Got the Cool New Job—Now What?

Got the Cool New Job—Now What?

Anuradha Mayer | Excelle

April 21, 2008

Congratulations on landing that great new job and advancing your career!

Now it’s time to plan how you will be successful in this new role. Many a career has suffered when people have failed to plan for starting a new job or worse, they assumed that what made them successful in the past will be the same things that will lead to success in the future.

By having a plan for starting up a new job, you can get off on the right foot and put yourself light years ahead by focusing on what is critically important in hitting the ground running. We have the choice to either “go with the flow” to gain critical knowledge over time which is a slow road to success. Or we can intentionally build our knowledge by following a well thought out plan and fast tracking our performance in the new job.

There are a few key factors to consider as you build the new job start up plan:

Did you do your homework? Start gathering information, this can begin even during the interview process. Review company goals, values, strategies, key initiatives and any other information that will help build your knowledge and perspective of the organization. Doing your homework will help you form the key questions to ask your stakeholders.

Who do you need to know? Make a list of key stakeholders, people whose support you will need or who could potentially put up roadblocks to your success. Reach out and begin building the relationship though introduction meetings. Balance these meetings with sharing and inquiring both on a personal and professional level. These meetings are invaluable to fully understand a company’s culture which is a key success factor.

What can you be a part of? Volunteer to be part of a project team or key initiative. This is a win/win. Not only are you contributing to the group by sharing a fresh perspective, it is an opportunity to build your network as well as learn how things get done and provide critical visibility.

What will you do differently? Too many leaders have fallen into the old ways of doing things that made them successful in the past. Assess what are the key skills, capabilities and work styles that will be critical for this new job. From that assessment, develop a plan for what changes you will make in this new role in terms of what to stop, start, and continue doing.

What will you achieve? After you taken some time to understand the landscape, begin setting your goals. You got this job because someone believed your skills and experience would bring value to the organization; this is the time to demonstrate what you can bring to the table. Your goals should be challenging yet achievable and well aligned to the goals of your team or organization. Review this plan with your boss and key stakeholders and get their reactions/feedback.

Are you on the right track? After you have been in the new job for at least four to six months, set up another round of meeting with those key stakeholders. Check in with them on how you are doing from their perspective. Ask what is working well and what could be more effective. These learnings will help you adjust as needed and ensure continued success.

Like having a good breakfast to start your day right, having a thorough plan will start your job right. As an old proverb say, failing to plan is like planning to fail.

For more in-depth planning, consider picking up the book The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels by Michael Watkins.

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