You’re starting a new role, maybe at a new company, and naturally, you’re really excited, and can’t wait to show them all your talents. You have all sorts of ideas and plans for what you’ll do at this job (and for this company), and they’re going to be so happy. That’s what you’re thinking, right?
That’s actually not at all how you want to go into your new role. Yes, they’re likely excited to have you onboard and are looking forward to the value you’ll add, but the way you go about doing that will make or break your success. Handle it with some smoothness and forethought, and both you and the company will benefit.
So, all that said — here are eight tips to use on your first 90 days at your new job:
1. During the first three months, it’s critical that you listen, listen and listen.
You have two ears and only one mouth for a reason — so that you listen more than you talk! In addition, feel free to ask questions; in order for you to know how to deliver all the amazing-ness you have plans to deliver, you need to know how the company works. And the only way to accomplish that is to pay attention and observe and process what you hear.
2. Get to know the people on the team and the people with whom you’ll be working closely.
You don’t need to become best friends, but understand how long they’ve worked for the company, if they’ve been promoted into many different roles, and how their relationships are with people. This way, you’ll learn who has been successful at the company and who hasn’t – and thus, in a sensible, career-practical manner, can align with and emulate those who have been successful.
3. Just because it worked at your last company doesn’t mean it will work at the new one.
Think of yourself as a specialist in your field with a toolbox of all sorts of projects and programs you’ve worked on during your career. Then, at the new company, after listening and learning and getting to know people, you can look into your treasure trove toolbox and determine what pieces of different projects could be a fit at the new company. Then again, maybe none of the things you’ve done in the past will be a fit, but that’s okay because after all you’ve learned in the first three months, you’ll have new ideas and solutions for what will be successful!
4. Meet with your new boss at least once a week for the first 90 days if possible.
That way, you can share with your manager what you’ve learned, ask questions and understand more from his/her point of view. The first few months are foundation-building, and the more your boss can help you understand the organization, how it works and about the relationships with people, the better you’ll be set up for success.
5. Be careful with the phrase, “When I was at X company, we used to…”
Of course you’ll say that from time to time, but don’t use it as a crutch! It gets old really fast hearing about how perfect everything was at your last company (of course, you also left said perfect company to work for this new one!). We know you don’t mean it that way; however, that’s how it can come across, so be mindful.
6. If you don’t know the answer to something someone asks you, say “I don’t know.”
If you aren’t sure what someone means in a meeting when they use an acronym (because we all know companies love to create acronyms for everything), ask. Think of building yourself a strong foundation of knowledge — and the best way to gain that is to let people know when you have no idea what they’re talking about. So find a way to ask, in a humble, polite, interested way, if they could take a minute or so to bring you up to speed.
7. Share positive feedback.
Share it with your manager and colleagues for any especially helpful pointers, advice or guidance they have taken the time to dispense to you, the newbie. We all appreciate knowing when we’re doing something well, and we’re a whole lot more likely to do more for you when we know it’s useful and valuable!
8. Have FUN learning in your new role!
The first 90 days are a magical time of discovery, so enjoy this phase of the job. Eventually it’ll be old hat and you’ll be just like everybody else that’s tenured and moving to the beat of the same drummer, but while you’re new and learning, it’s okay to be outside your comfort zone. So relish the process of learning, inquiring, and making your mark.
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