Few things are more exciting than a new job. It is an opportunity to reinvent oneself, to take the best of your work forward and leave the mistakes behind. It is a new chapter, a new slate, a new beginning.
New beginnings come with new expectations, both the expectations we place on ourselves and the expectations coming from those around us. As sales, marketing, or commercial business unit leaders, the expectation for company growth rests squarely on our shoulders, which creates pressure to perform, with all eyes watching. There is a feeling that time is critical, there is no room for error, and fast wins are essential. This can lead to the honeymoon feeling quickly fading, early mistakes being made, and questioning all around. Starting your new job—or your executive hire—the right way can avoid the rollercoaster of emotions and accelerate business success.
Here’s how to start a job or a new hire right:
- Go slow to move fast: The first thirty days need to be about learning and this needs to be deep learning. Before making changes to the organization or critical business decisions, it is essential to spend time acquiring a deep understanding of the business. Too often I see executive hires make assumptions about the company they are joining based on their experience and too often I see CEOs overly empower a new hire, in an effort to show trust, before the new hire is fully entrenched in the company. Taking the first thirty days slowly to learn the business is what will enable smart decision making and fast growth in the future.
- Learn the culture: There is only one person who can change the culture of a company and that is the CEO. Take a moment when starting a new role to unlearn your old business culture and adapt to your new environment. Once adapted, be additive. Bring new ways of doing things into the company that will enhance everyone’s work and life but do it in a way that aligns with the current culture vs. trying to reshape something unnecessarily.
- Know your priorities: There is always a lot to do when launching into a new role but not everything will yield immediate results. Focus on 2-3 immediate wins that will show the company and the board that you were worth the money and are the right hire. Understand the priorities of the CEO and immediately map your activities accordingly.
- Know who needs to be won over: It is rare that a hire is made with 5-star reviews all around. Going into a role with an understanding of who you may still need to win over is important. Learn who you still need to close a gap with and make sure to put effort into building that relationship and demonstrating your value.
- Meet daily: Carve out time daily to meet with your new hire or meet with the CEO. This can be one hour per day at the beginning, moving to fifteen minutes per day by time day twenty comes around. These meetings should be structured at the beginning and become more fluid at the end. This is an opportunity to listen, ask questions, learn, strategize, collaborate, and bond. It is a time to build your relationship so that you can move forward to build the company.
Launching into a new job can be an incredible opportunity for your career and life. Moving too slow can raise questions, but moving too fast can be detrimental to the business and your success. As leaders, we are responsible for owning our own path while helping others carve theirs. Taking ownership of how you or your hire start, and thoughtfully taking time to learn about the business, before major decisions or changes are made, will ensure trust is built and success is had for all.