You got the job! It happened! Whew! Take a breath. Celebrate!
Now – get to work! Plan your first 90 days. This will make the difference in all your successes at work.
The relief, the paperwork, the scheduling of your on-boarding, the figuring out what to wear your first day all pale in comparison to how much thinking and planning you should be putting into making the right impressions your first 90 days. And few people do this. I know, I spent years in human resources looking for ways to on-board for richer and elevated success for each new employee’s first 90 days, only to be met with a ‘no need’ attitude from the employee and their boss as they both navigated new waters working together. As if a plan wasn’t necessary. I could see the bubble over each of their heads with an “I got this” sentence. And I watched as challenges arose, newness didn’t wear off fast enough, and frustrations of not knowing what they didn’t know got in the way.
Your first 90 days are powerful! So powerful I ended up putting a potent and simple framework of questions together that helped new employees gain information they can use as they navigate new waters. And this same framework grew in usefulness in training people about feedback, gaining positive information, controlling negative information, and learning how others perceive them way before the annual performance review was due. It was so helpful it grew into an upcoming book. Why was this so helpful? Because your first 90 days have the capacity to set you apart as a rock star right from the start.
Your first 30 days are spent learning organizational vision, mission, values, and culture on top of remembering coworker names, roles and responsibilities, and the pecking order of everyday decisions. LinkedIn has a great read on the 10 things you should do your first 30 days on the job and I’d like to offer a simple technique to help. You should clearly be ready to ask others what they expect of you – but it’s not just a blurt out question. There are nuances to this that will help set you apart – even in how you ask to acquire this information. Here’s what I recommend:
When you want to ask the question- what do you expect from me?
Instead- state the context– when I work with you on (this).
Then be specific about 1 thing – what’s the most important thing that you are looking forward to me providing for this to be successful?
Lastly (and don’t forget this part) ask for an example – can you share with me an example of how you’ve seen that before? Or how you want that to happen?
Your first 60 days will be more about settling in to showcase what you can deliver in small doses and getting to know your leadership better. In January 2014, idealist.org posted a blog on what you should be planning before stepping into a new office. There is some sage advice here so grab 2 minutes for the quick read. An important piece of advice I agree with and recommend you putting at the top of the list for the second 30 days of your first 60 days is to:
- review your job description
- schedule meetings with key colleagues
- connect with your direct manager or supervisor to create on-going touch-base sessions
Reviewing your job description will provide you with some interesting questions to discuss with key colleagues. For example, you find something on your job description that you haven’t seen put to use yet. You can bring this up with colleagues and give them the context of the job description and ask them when they have seen that needed and could they provide an example of what success looks like when you get to provide that aspect of your job.
Connecting with your manager is a perfect time to share what your goals are and to ask the manager about their own expectations of your job being performed like a rock star. Note: If a ‘rock star’ employee hasn’t been in your shoes yet you are forging new territory – that is great! So, ask your manager what success looks like for them as your manager when you are good at your job. Gain that perspective to know what they are looking for. Just asking the question lets them know you are goal oriented – gaining their vision helps you know exactly what to do instead of guessing. Win/Win.
With your first 90 days in mind, there are elements that you can put in place right from the start that you will see rewards for during this final 30 days of your first quarter. Workmonger (love that name) offers up a more intellectual look at a 90 day plan. Here’s my translation of key areas to never forget:
- Do make a 90 day plan and share it with your manager (and gain their own 90 day plan and merge the two collaboratively).
- Learn what other employees, and your boss, brag about from working in the organization. This will help you understand more about the culture than what you can gain from the handbook.
- Always be on the look out for a great mentor – whether inside the organization or out – and set up regular coffee chats together.
- At the 60 day point, do discuss professional development needs, goals, and aspirations with your leadership. You will have gained some insights into what you need to stay up to date with fellow peers so don’t wait on this. Inquire as to what they support, provide, pay for, or allow you to explore on your own for your professional growth. If you don’t ask, they won’t offer. So, ask early, clearly, and don’t wait on taking action.
Note: if professional development is not provided or paid for – don’t nag or whine about this. Accept it for now and inquire what grace is offered for professional development on your own, i.e. scheduled time off with pay, or…? You can change the world next quarter.
Your first quarter is a big deal!
The first quarter is when organizations take stock of what’s working and what’s not and so should you. The first 90 days are your first quarter of your first year. It’s no small thing. While you may think there is more grace during this time – beware, grace runs out faster than you think, and this first quarter sets the tone for your time there for a long time. If you would like more information on how to ask better questions during your first 90 days at work, reach out for a quick call: https://schedule.relevant-insight.com/appts.