Over the past weeks, I have focussed my articles heavily on the art of preparing for a pending career move. This week, I’d like to look at what happens once that career move has been made; specifically, during that crucial period of the first 100 days in a new role.
First Hundred Days ‘In Office’
You may have heard people on the news throwing around the term “first 100 days in office” in connection with US politics.
Back in 1933, Franklin D Roosevelt made a speech referencing his ‘first 100 days’ being essentially devoted to setting new things in motion. Since then, the term has become a benchmark to measure early success in a role, not just for American Presidents, but for business leaders around the world.
What is So Important About the First 100 Days?
“Two things remain irretrievable: time and a first impression.”
When we change jobs, regardless of how much preparation we do, there will always be risks and we will always face challenges. With the sheer amount of learning required, the first 3 months of a new job are thought to be the most difficult. As the list below demonstrates, it can be a very demanding time.
It’s a Different Job: Okay, I’m stating the obvious a bit here, but it matters. You’ve just spent years practising and getting good at your last job, so good in fact, somebody gave you the chance to do a bigger role. The expectations of this new role, however, will likely be different; there may well be a step up in demand, expectation, and skill.
New Boss: You may be working for a different boss; they may have different needs and lead differently to what you’re accustomed to. Will you like them? Will they like you? Are they supportive? It will take some time to understand their expectations.
New Team: What will the team you’re going to lead be like? Will they support your ideas, or resist them? Is there someone on your new team that was overlooked for your role? Will that cause friction? How will you manage that friction? It’s likely some members of your team will be as nervous about a new leader coming in, as you are about starting the role. How you come across and present any new ideas can make the difference when it comes to your team being behind you, or making your work life difficult.
New Colleagues: What will they be like? Who can you trust? Who do you need to be wary of? Office politics need to be understood and navigated. Of course, first impressions count, and people form views and opinions about you from the offset. If you don’t come across well in those early interactions, it can be a real challenge to overcome.
Different Culture: You may be moving businesses or departments, and the culture is most certainly going to be different. You will likely have to adapt the way you go about things in order to fit in with this new culture. In the same way, the organisational values may be different. If the values are very different to your own, that may cause anxiety and create a level of challenge which may be uncomfortable.
New Systems: It’s not just about learning new computer systems; every system is new. From the coffee machine and the key card entry system to policies and procedures, you’re going to have to learn them all whilst leading a new team or project.
The First 3 Months Can Be "Make or Break"
“Success is a slow process and quitting does not speed it up.”
Did you know that in most companies, labour turnover is highest in the first year of employment? Looking at the above list, you can probably understand why. There’s a huge amount to take on - and that’s before you undergo in-house training for your actual job.
Get your first 100 days right, and you are setting yourself and the people around you up for success. Get it wrong and it becomes a whole lot harder for everyone, especially you, the new leader. The experience can destroy your confidence, self-esteem, potential, enthusiasm, drive, and commitment; it can literally push you to look elsewhere for a job.
Breaking Down the First 100 Days
1 - 30 Days in Role
This period is all about listening, understanding, and building positive relationships. You will be immersing yourself in the new company culture, your team, and the organisation as a whole. You may even find yourself forming plans for the future - but whether those plans are for your team, the work, or the strategy, it’s best you keep them to yourself. At this early stage, you must seek to understand, rather than judge. As first impressions last, the early months of a new role can be critical for future success in the company.
30 – 60 Days in Role
Over the next 30 days, it’s time to start to share your thoughts and plans with your manager, key colleagues, and team. Engage, collaborate and plan to get your team moving in the direction they need to go for medium to long-term success. Of course, it’s inevitable there will be some short-term goals where your team is concerned and although these shouldn’t be ignored, this period is also about setting your future vision in motion and getting some energy behind your ideas.
60 – 100 Days in Role
This final part of the ‘100 day’ period, is about putting plans into action. You will continually stretch your skills and adapt your development plans over this time, as you are still learning about the work, the opportunities, and the people around you. Some of the teams you’re taking on the journey may struggle to keep up or resist change. Throughout this period, it’s important to understand the source of any resistance, offer support to the colleague or manage the situation where needed.
How a Coach Can Help?
Ideally, coaching for the ‘first 100 days’ with my clients will start before they have even left their old job. Getting a head start ensures they are clear on what their ‘step up’ will involve and prepares them for the moment they walk through the doors on day one.
Over the 100 days, I regularly connect with my clients, not only to make sure that the pre-work we put in is being effective but to work through any challenges that present themselves along the way.
Coaching provides a safe, non-bias space to vent frustrations and plan to overcome them. By setting clients up to deal with common challenges before they arise, coaching can also make any course corrections less jarring.
Having a coach on board for the first 100 days of employment can help you to effectively navigate the challenges involved and come out of the other side, confident in your new role.
If you feel like you might benefit from this support, why not pick up the phone and call me on: 07799474776
Or email me: Paul@paulstarbuckassiociates.com
Why not let me help you to be all you can be, in 2022.