Photo credit: Miguel Bruna
Amaaazing! You got the gig! It’s the dream job at the company you wanted to work at since forever. Everyone is congratulating you! Such a fantastic moment. Even your parents are getting kudos out of it, just for having produced you. No pressure though. Its not like you could flub it up, right? Right? Ack!
For those who want to make a good impression, pass probation and make an impact, read on!
1. Identify your success metrics
In order to be successful in your new role you need to be clear about the metrics you want to be judged against. Are you there to raise standards, raise profile (yours or the teams), improve processes or save money? It’s critical to be clear on how your progress will be evaluated and by whom. Don’t leave yourself in the dark here.
2. How aligned are you with your formal goals?
If you are there to save money and streamline the business, are you 100% behind that vision? Or, are you secretly hoping to persuade the powers that be to take another view.
3. Whats the organisational/departmental view on meeting objectives?
All organisations have their unique tolerances for performance, and some can be surprisingly harsh or gentle. It pays to do some digging and get the lie of the land where you are.
4. Whose feathers will your success ruffle?
Who is going to welcome those improvements and who is going to be less than impressed? This is where the politics lives. Become a great detective to see what matters to who.
5. Make your presence known
Get out and meet as many people as you can. Ask everyone if there is someone else you need to meet. Take notes. My experience is that everyone tells you everything you need to succeed in the first few weeks. You are just too overwhelmed to take it in. Keep reviewing your notes. It’s all in there.
6. Listen as if your life depended on it
People blossom when they feel heard. Listen to everyone and acknowledge their truth, even if it doesn’t resonate or make sense to you. Ask them what they would do if they were you. You’ll be amazed at what you hear.
7. Set goals and hold yourself to account
What do you want to achieve in your first 30, 60, 90 days? And after that? What happens if you don’t? If you can’t trust yourself to deliver, how can your team, peers and stakeholders depend on you?
8. Ask for help
It’s easy to assume that asking for help exposes your weaknesses publicly. And it might do, but whats the alternative? If you don’t ask for help and don’t achieve your goals, you run the risk of falling flat on your face and that is never a winning look. So swallow your pride and get help when you need it. Too tip: make sure you acknowledge all your sources so they are even more inclined to help in the future.
It’s easy to compare ourselves to “great leaders” and feel too aware of how we fall short. But being a leader depends so much more on staying calm and being your best self than it does on specific skills (that you can hone throughout your career) such as public speaking. Do your homework (follow these 8 tips) and keep your nerve and you have every chance of being the great leader you know you can be.
25 years experience in helping teams build user centred products and services, now helping digital colleagues learn how to bounce back better than before from the challenges life throws at us from time-to-time.