Three months. That’s all it takes to super-charge your impact on a team. What do you need to learn? Who do you need to meet? What are you going to do? Month one, month two, month three.
Starting a new position — or rebooting in your current one — is charged with uncertainty. Your performance during the first few months marks the difference between merely surviving and being truly remarkable!
Leaders at all levels are most vulnerable in their first few months in a new position. If you are new to the company, you lack detailed knowledge of the organization and the imminent challenges that await you. If you are assuming a new role in your current company, everything changes with your new vantage point.
- You have not yet developed a network of relationships to sustain you in this new place
- Your leadership team will be unknown to you, and you to them
- The values and processes that drive decisions will be unclear
- You run the risk of activating the cultural immune system
- The influence and power structure will be all but invisible
- You will have an enormous amount of work to do in a short amount of time
- Priorities must be developed quickly
Lack of momentum in the first few months translates into an uphill battle for the rest of your time in the job. The key to success is to take a systematic approach — incorporating all eight leadership dimensions — to learn, connect, and deliver.
The key is to think systematically about three important questions:
- What do I need to do?
- What do I need to learn?
- What relationships do I need to build?
You’ll also want to be deliberate about your overall goals for the first three months and key results that you will want to deliver.
These questions play out very differently in each of the first three months in a new role. I have created a handy Jump-Start Worksheet that makes it easy to visualize, plan, and deliver a successful turnaround in your current role or a stellar launch in a new one. You can download a free PDF version or pick up an editable version in Microsoft Word format from the Download Store.