Before your first day, think about your professional brand for this role. What do you want people to know about you? What can they depend on you for? What past experience do you have that could help them?
Consider what you already know about the purpose for and the responsibilities of this role. Who will you be working closely with? Who will be impacted by what you do? Who do you need to have on your side? What might their issues and concerns be?
Based on the above, make a list of who you want to be sure to meet during your first few weeks and get those appointments scheduled ASAP! Have a list of your questions and some bullets to share. Ask them who else you should meet/be speaking with. Ask them to tell you what they’d want to be sure they knew in this position.
In the 1st 30 days, it’s crucial to identify your key stakeholders. Who relies on you to be successful? Who do you need in your corner to achieve your goals? Meet with these people, form relationships and most importantly, do what we call in coaching “designing an alliance”. When designing an alliance, you lay out what the other party can expect from you and ask what you can expect from the other party. Each of you also shares what you need from each other. The key thing is that both parties have the right to say yes, say no or make a counteroffer. It’s best to know where you stand and who you have to help you get where you’re going, as quickly as possible.
Probably the biggest mistake is not recognizing that your success or failure will be determined by the relationships you create. Listen more than you talk, but when you DO talk, be sure to communicate your professional “brand”. Let folks know what you stand for and what you want to create in this position. Ask them what’s their biggest challenge and how you can help. You can be a resource from day 1 just based on your prior experience and contacts.
However, make sure you do NOT talk incessantly about how great your last job or company was, especially not about how much better they are. If your current firm didn’t have challenges, they wouldn’t need you!
Over-communicate at the start to get those relationships grounded. Then put together a high level plan for how you’ll tackle your job moving forward. By the end of the first 4-5 weeks, meet with your new boss and get her buy-in that you’re headed along the right path. Request that he add anything you may have missed – after all, you don’t know what you don’t know! Then execute, execute, execute!