CRITICAL ACTIONS TO NAIL IT IN THE FIRST 90 DAYS!
- Why getting your own Buddy is a better bet
- The importance of an Integration Plan
- Know your Department’s Why
- Build a Network of Strength
- Why Working Hard is not good enough
- Win with Working Smart
- Start your secret Success Plan
You’ve been offered a job!
Your job search is over. For now. Until… Or for a long time. It depends. Even if you can deliver. Meet Expectations. Sometimes, even if you exceed expectations. And, even, or more so, if you hit a purple patch. Doing extremely well.
Will you be happy with the job, your colleagues, your boss, the company? Will you fit in? Are your colleagues needling, hoping to break your spirit? Is your boss dipping into your bucket, withdrawing positive support?Are your colleagues needling, hoping to break your spirit? Click To Tweet
When will you be infected by a ‘dis-ease?’ A feeling of being disengaged? An increasing sense of unease? Your gusto gone. Meaning thinning. The watch gets bigger.
You may dismiss these questions as seeds of negative thinking. Pessimistic ponderings.
If you think these questions lead to negative thinking, then you are a negative thinker.
Look at this exercise positively. It is a catalyst. To think proactively. It is positioning for a super start, improving your chances tremendously, towards a great career.
The first ninety days are crucial. For many things. For addiction. They talk about the ‘sleeper effect’ where your brain gets hitched on the determination for recovery.
Business results are reviewed every ninety days. Some have fixed quarterly updates. Others follow rolling quarters. It is a business mindset to look at results and make plans every ninety days.
It is important that the company, specifically your boss feels confident that they have made the right decision to invest in you. Better, if you are categorized as an excellent investment. Want to be in that category? Then, read on. Otherwise, continue with whatever you are doing.
7 Action Steps to Power Launch Your Career
1.Don’t settle for a busy buddy, get your own. On your first day, in addition to giving you a firm welcoming handshake, your boss will proudly introduce you to a ‘buddy.’
The buddy is assigned, usually for a month, to assist assimilating yourself to the work environment and the work. Depending on organizations, your buddy might even be given a budget to treat you to lunch. Hurray, free lunch for a month!
The free lunch is good. The assimilation is more important. Depending on your boss, and the business situation, one of the two criteria could be used to choose your buddy:
a.An experienced leadership type who is trusted. An excellent performer who is doing the important work for the department.
b.The sociable average performer who has free time. The performance of this person has little impact on the indicators of the department. The handy volunteer.
The leadership type would like to, but probably, could not give you the right level of attention. This go getter needs to get the pressing and important work done.
The average performer would have all the time for you but the desired results. Instead of getting you the right level of information and connections, it’s mostly small talks and fun fare. Worse, you might be conscripted into a pity party.
Another potential adverse situation. Your boss might want to ‘kill two birds with one stone.’ Your new buddy might be the overwhelmed one, the reason for your hiring. This person is supposed to hand over a portion of work to you.
If this is your buddy, you can be quite sure of this. The buddy will be more interested to pass over the work as quickly as possible. This will enable the person to reclaim the much needed slack.
Sometimes, at the expense of missing some steps or details. And since, the benefactor of your work is also your buddy, who are you going to discuss the issues with? Your boss?
Understandably, you would be fearful of creating the wrong impression. So, what is the best course of action?
Find your own buddy! Don’t announce it. Don’t make it official. Look around for someone to help you assimilate well.
Use to first week to do some window shopping. Start with your department. Is there someone who has a few years of experience, who seems responsible and nice?
If you run out of options, look over the fence. People in departments who work closely with your department.
Client departments; those who use your department’s services.
Or vendor departments. Those departments who provide support to your department.
You don’t have to put a sash on the people you identify. Just approach them to join you for lunch or tea. Find a common interest to chit chat. Build a friendly relationship. Seep in the questions you need answers for.
One thing to remember. Be grateful. Everyone craves for a bit of recognition. You don’t have to give them a Bentley. Just a short note of thanks. Once a while, cc your boss. Use word of mouth. Thank your ‘unsuspecting’ buddy personally, not for the ‘buddying’ but for the friendship, tips. Of higher value than a direct thank you, praise people behind their backs.Don’t settle for a busy buddy, get your own. Click To Tweet
2.Where’s the plan to blend? You have a healthy buddy who is fully functional. He will steer you in the right direction. But, how do you know if you have gone to the places you are supposed to go? Where do you tick off the milestones you’ve passed?
You need a roadmap. A piece of document. The integration plan.
The plan should have at least 5 columns:
–Events: this should list all the meetings you need to have ( one- on- ones with key functional leads in the department, meeting the suppliers who keep your department running, attending stakeholder meetings to be introduced, a business update which is presented to you; sharing the department’s quarterly and annual plans and status update, a basic supplier management class to ensure you do not get into a contractual tangle, a controls class to get you to be ethically correct, a business emergency class to familiarize you with the crises management tactics, a series of customer service classes to ensure you serve your client departments well and a recognition briefing to motivate you with the rewards systems.
In addition to the main roadmap, there should be a list of recommended training. These are classes you are expected to attend over a longer period of time.
Critical is the schedule of mandatory training which you must enroll within 6 months to 12 months.
– Timeline: this column spells out when the events must occur.
–Owner(s): this column list the name of the person or persons accountable for the events
–Desired Outcome: this column describes the benefits of the events for the new employee, you. It clearly spells out what the effort will deliver
–Status: the fifth column tracks if the events are happening on time and if not, why? A new date is expected.
If there is no such integration plan, congratulations! It’s an opportunity for you to suggest and get one drafted. During the course of your career, if you find something lacking, don’t act like an average employee. Don’t complain. Seize the opportunity to do something positive.
3.What is your Department’s why? And, how? It is unthinkable. That you are not scheduled to attend a boilerplate orientation event by HR. Within two weeks of your first day. I bet they will have your department covered. A page of PowerPoint, max. It’s good. As far as it’s an overview of the Company.
Being an incumbent employee, you’ll need to know more about your Department. Ask for a Department orientation. They should have one. As they’ll have to present to a new supplier. Or a visiting VIP.
The orientation should cover the vision, mission, strategic objectives, credo, services, locations, organization, contacts and success criteria.
This event will allow you an opportunity to clarify, align with the business expectations. The material is a solid foundation to develop your success roadmap. Again, if the orientation package does not exist, it’s an opportunity.
4.Galvanize your position with a network of strengths. Build a network of strengths. Don’t just strengthen your relationship with like- minded.
Extend your reach, diversify your interest. Don’t worry about reaching too high up. Schedule one-on-one meeting with high level leadership. Even if they think you are too low level for their time, they will assign a subordinate to meet you. At least they know you exist.
To do this successfully;
-send the appointment mail with a short introduction. Not just a ‘hi, I am a new employee and would like to meet you.’ In a short paragraph, tell them your expertise and how you will serve them. Be sure to express interest in the current hot button programs, some examples may be the green initiative, diversity or work environment improvement.
-clearly state the objective of the meeting; with three questions you would like to ask. Answering the questions would allow the leader to talk about accomplishments. With pride.
Be strategic in your approach and you will get what you want.
-Don’t just network with functional leads. Get close to the informal leaders. The people who are low in position but high in influence. Who do people look up to who are not ‘higher ups?’ In an informal setting, who is getting the attention?
-Leaders of strategic programs like diversity, green, lean and safety. The idea is not to link strongly with all. Choose the ones that you can contribute and participate. These programs usually come with high profile recognitions.
-Service owners who are critical support to your role. Example, for a new employee at this age, IT is important. So is Purchasing and Facilities.
5. Work hard and be seen to work hard. If there is one person you should pay attention to, when he dishes out career advice, it is Guy Kawasaki. He is a bestselling author of business and influence books. He has highflying and successful careers with Apple and Motorola.
This is the final of his ‘10 tips to climb to the top of the mountain’:
Get to work early and you leave late. Work hard while you’re there. Suck it up because you’re imprinting people with the impression that you are diligent. Don’t confuse working smart with working short — the two are not the same thing. Early on, you need to work smart and work long to make an impression.
I need not add more.
6.Work smart and not be seen as trying to beat the system. Be transparent. If you are short circuiting a process, tell your boss why you are taking the risk.
Under promise and over deliver. Calibrate and manage expectations. Give yourself time to do a good job and do it faster. This is not the same as sandbagging when the focus is to have more slack time. Do this well, you will build confidence in your capability. It will land you high profile assignments.
Documentation is king. Document all verbal agreements. Send a mail to reiterate what have been agreed. You need not cc or bcc the world. Don’t create doubt in the integrity of your co-workers.
Make uncertainties certain. Prepare your presentation early. Get an offline alignment, before presentation, with one or a few of the more senior attendees. This is critical if it is a meeting to discuss issues. Brainstorm the FAQ. List 3-5 more controversial ones to get them ‘off the table.’ Have a list of other questions with answers for quick reference. This will smoothen the presentation. In case you do not know, FAQ means Frequently Asked Questions.
These two proactive actions will prevent ‘rat-holing.’ Or being stuck in stress inducing, life sapping struggle over an issue.
7.Why not start with Success Planning? Motivate yourself with the biggest why. Just like the janitor at NASA who is helping to launch the space craft. Or the mason who sees the beautiful cathedral with every brick he lays. Why not?
Set SMART goals. But not for the level or positions you want. Find out what is the gap between when you are to where you want to be. In terms of performance. Skills. Attributes. Set your goals to achieve the required accomplishments. The training needed. The personal quality desired. Translate your goals into actionable plans. Take action! Everybody knows about SMART goals. I am sure you do.
Actively participate in important company programs. Even if they are not relevant to your job responsibilities. These are usually corporate social responsibility events. Hop onto a community service group. Or an environmental focus team. Driving diversity in the workplace is a big deal. Workplace improvement ala Google seems to be an ongoing dream for many organizations. Choose what is important with the company, even if not relevant to your position.
Don’t ever forget Dr. John Gottman’s 5:1. Make sure you identify five opportunities to compliment for every criticism you make. Simply said, for every negative thing you say, say five good things. This will enhance your relationship. With anyone.
And, oh…you are not hired to find problems. You are hired to provide solutions. Going to discuss a problem with your boss? Better have a few proposed solutions. Don’t shy away from sharing your work problems. Problems or issues are why we are hired. To solve them.
Start your search for a mentor. If you do your networking right, this will not be hard. Remember you have to give before you receive. Like all mortals, your potential mentor will have this question in mind, “what’s in it for me?” Make your proposition compelling. Build a solid brand. A winning brand. Before you ask for sponsorship.
Be known as a success broker. Share your performance. Credit everyone who helped you or worked with you. This is assuming leadership. Most people think that only formal leaders are empowered to recognize. Be a leader. Recognize people. Even your bosses. And your boss’s bosses. Just do it sincerely.Be known as a success broker. Click To Tweet
Like most successes. Winning at work, takes work. The 7 Action Steps to a Power Launch Your Career give you a firm right step into a happy and wonderful future. If you find it hard to follow all these proven steps, just remember this. Focus on making your boss successful. It is expected as a commitment when your boss hired you. If you deliver good work and focus on making your boss look good, you will always be on the right track.
Have I missed out on a better career launch strategy? Please share them in the Comments section. Let’s lend a hand to those still stuck with the 9 to 5.
“You can take this to the bank: if you make your boss look good, your career path will be better, faster, and easier because a rising tide floats all boats.”