First 90 Days – Why They Are Critical and What You Need to Know

Suparna malhotraConfidence, Leadership, Success0 Comments

Starting a new role and progressing is what you are striving for. Once that has been achieved, it is not the end but just the beginning.

The first 90- days are key in establishing yourself as a leader. The impression you set is the tone of the rest of your time there.

First impressions go a long way, it is essential to ensure you set the right ones. It is a time when you are getting to know the culture, the role, the people. You recognise what needs to change, though the beginning is exploratory in a way.

Certainly, when you get that long awaited promotion you want to celebrate, and you should. Instead of resting on your laurels, however, if you extend your vision to beyond this and even further, it will help you keep your head above the water.

Here are some tips and thoughts on where you could focus for your first 90 days, after having started a new role.

  1. Be clear about your mandate

    Know exactly what it is expected of you. Understand what the measurables are, establish concrete goals and action points for yourself based on the mandate.

    Get clear on your steps. You will have fires to put out, and hangovers from the previous leader, which is to be expected. Get as clear as you can on the steps you need to take to get going.

  2. Build relationships

    According to executive coach Sandra Green, women tend to start new jobs and want to excel, without investing their time building relationships.

    Men start immediately think of how to get to the next role a level up (or their boss’s job). You may have heard me speak about the importance of having a sponsor, someone who vouches for you and puts you forward for roles. For the same reason, build relationships with key stakeholders in all areas around you.

    Learn who the influencers are, get to know the teams. They will come in good stead. Learn about each individual member of your team, what drives them, what their ambitions are through one-to-ones. There will be times when you will inherit a team or a partial team. Not always will you be able to start from scratch.

  3. Communication – extremely important to know how information is communicated at all levels. How do you receive it and from where. A banker client of mine had blurred lines of communication with one of her bosses for a project. There was someone in the middle who was uncooperative and blocked the flow of information. She eventually confronted the ‘middle man’ and explained how and when she needed information. It worked.

  4. Build your 90-day plan as soon as you can (as with any business).

    90-days is a viable time to implement and measure progress on deliverables. What were the objectives set out at the start? What resources are required? What are the plans of action. Once again, who are the key stakeholders in this equation? Be it your direct team or others. Plan every detail. Some even think this is a viable plan to have at your interview. No time like yesterday to get started.

  5. Manage your boss well

    Develop a good relationship with him or her. Make him or her look good and make things easy for them. Make a note of the key questions you may have for your boss, and ask them succinctly and on as few occasions as possible.

    Clients I work with clients have had challenging bosses to learn to work with, and I have clients whose boss takes them from project to project. Build a relationship of trust and reliability.

These are just 5 steps in a large, possibly complex process. The sooner you set your mind to this the better.

Most of the work I do is with clients who have been promoted to new roles. Working with an executive coach is very useful at this stage. A coach can help you navigate the relationships, and help you identify your key priorities and areas of focus. We can help you define strategies, key persons of influence and what your pitfalls could be.

Think about the role you are in and the first 90-days there. What would you have done differently knowing what you know now? What will you do when going for your next new role?

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