August 11th, 2013 By: Ash
I originally wrote this post with a new starter in mind but realised that these strategies are very valuable at any point in one’s tenure. Ultimately they are designed to deliver jaw dropping, insane value that can provide a pretty compelling argument for a pay rise.
So read on … and prosper.
OK so you used the first two posts in the Jobs and Careers series (42 : Jobs and Careers Pt 1 : 9 useful tips to assess
your prospective employer or company and 45 : ?Jobs and Careers Pt 2 : Implement these 8 useful interview tips to nail that next job) to land your dream job
Congratulations! Well done!
How do you really nail those first few days and surpass your line managers expectations?
How do you really hit the ball out of the park given that you know precious little about the job or the organisation?
First impressions are critical. You need to show your employer and stakeholders that you mean business (pun
Your colleagues’ trust is earned in the first few days of a role and you can achieve a fairly unassailable position in the first week with these 9 simple and easily implementable strategies.
In fact these strategies are worth implementing at any point – not just as a new starter.
If you haven’t already implemented these 9 strategies it’s well worth considering each of these points and incorporating them into your workflow asap. I hope you find them to be as effective as I have over the years.
Your stakeholders play a very significant role in determining your success.
These people are going to make or break you over the coming months. You need to get strike a chord with them as soon as possible. I find a good way to do this is to do a bit of snooping on linkedin. Taking the time to do a bit of research before going up and introducing myself to a stakeholder always pays handsomely.
I don’t suggest opening the conversation with your linkedin findings as that can come across as very stalker like.
The point of the linkedin research is just to get a perspective on the person’s professional background. I have found this provides valuable context and is useful in that first conversation and all future dealings.
Every role in every
organisation must deliver some form of product or service that is used by another person or team in that organisation (internal customer) or by an external customer.
Finding out exactly what these key deliverables are is absolutely critical.
I tend to document these deliverables down to ensure that I deliver on them.
For example if I have to report weekly on a product’s performance I document the due time and day each week, who I need to deliver the report to and document the procedure around producing the report. More on this later in the post.
Asking for a prior example of the report is also very useful.
This helps to clarify exactly what I need to deliver on.
If I can’t deliver on it for some reason within the agreed timeline I communicate my inability to deliver as far in advance as possible with a good explanation as to why.
Keeping track of deliverables demonstrates excellent self management and organisational skills – something that is music to any managers ears.
This may change but it’s a very important thing to do because it gives you a vantage point you won’t have unless you create this game plan. It makes you think about your job and also gives you the opportunity to show your manager you’re thinking
I use the Getting things Done approach to prioritise my tasks. I find this process to be very effective in project managing my tasks proactively. It allows me to sort tasks into key projects and execute tasks from multiple projects in an optimum fashion.
In addition to creating detailed meeting agenda (to be covered off in a future post) I use my MacBookAir to take detailed notes for my future reference in all my meetings.
This has many valuable benefits:
b) Ambiguities in what is being said become more apparent. I can’t paraphrase ambiguous messages when taking notes. This a great opportunity to clarify things there and then
c) I don’t need to rely on my memory for the minutia. In today’s information overload environment this is a welcome relief.
d) Because I record all my meeting notes in one word document recalling information or conversations is incredibly easy. The find function in word is all I need to zero in on a keyword.
e) Creating and distributing minutes of a meeting (if required) becomes really easy. This is very useful when I’m trying to ‘project manage’ a piece of work with many stakeholders and tight deadlines.
I’ve found distributing meeting minutes followed up with project meetings is a great way to ensure clarity and accountability around outcomes.
Einstien was said to have 5 identical outfits for each every day of the week to save him the mental energy required to
“deciding” on a new outfit each day
In a similar vein handling information more than once is a waste of mental energy. Searching for it more than once (e.g.
scrabbling around for a piece of paper where you jotted down your Lan ID) is a travesty!
I create a living word document that I add to as part of my on boarding process when I start a new role. This document includes passwords, key phone numbers, login ID, IT helpdesk number etc … all in one word document.
I don’t explicitly put my password on the document but use a damn good hint that only I would understand. This helps keep me in line with corporate policies around password confidentiality etc.
Starting in a new organisation is always hard. One of the hardest things is coming to terms with the acronyms and jargon that goes with a new role.
Unless you have a photographic memory I strongly recommend adding to your personal glossary which explains all the mysterious acronyms and jargon once and for all.
You don’t have to ask the same thing more than once and don’t have to spend time researching the same stuff more than once on the corporate intranet.
It also creates the impression of being a fast learner which is very useful in creating credibility and trust.
Get a clear understanding of who’s who in the zoo.
Understanding how each of your stakeholders fits into the bigger picture quickly creates tacit knowledge around the organisation which is invaluable. Your preparation during the job interview process should have already given you some insight into the organisations culture. Go through the organisation charts those insights in mind.
This exercise provides a good sense of perspective and helps negotiate the political quagmire – an inevitable part organisations these days.
Each time I meet a new stakeholder I tend to go back to the org charts to see who they report to and how that reporting line tracks back to the CEO.
This also makes the process of studying the org charts far more interesting as compared to peering at a sea of names and titles without a face or personality to relate those names and titles to.
Assuming you have the luxury of a handover from your predecessor, project managing the handover demonstrates professionalism and engenders trust beyond measure.
It also allows you to maximise your time with your predecessor to get all the information you need to do the job.
Without a clear documented plan on how you’re going to do the handover it’s very easy to let things slip through the cracks and you might find yourself working extremely hard to figure things out after your predecessor’s departure – something that’s easily avoidable.
Here are three simple things you can do to manage the handover process. Producing a set of documented processes at the end of the handover might just get your manager to fall in love with you.
The objective here is to make your line manager feel delighted with his or her decision to hire you.
Strive to make all your initial interactions about you providing value to your manager. First impressions are important. They set the tone for the entire relationship.
By offering insane amounts of value to your manager up front your building valuable trust and credibility – something you can (and will) draw upon later.
So if you need access to passwords or system access ask IT or any other service in the company.
In the first few weeks make a commitment to only approach your manager to tell her what you’ve achieved.
And If there she approaches you with a task to be completed the best thing you can say (after clarifying your deliverable) is “Leave it with me I’ll take care of it”
What are your approaches to a new role? What tools do you use? Are there any points I’ve missed above?
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