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How to Rock Your First 90 Days on the Job

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. We’ve all heard that time and time again. Well, when it comes to new jobs, your first 90 days amounts to that first impression. The first 90 days is when you meet the team, learn the organization, and begin your work. Those 90 days will set the tenor of your time at the organization, and will either position you for success or failure during your tenure. So, let’s make sure you rock those first 90 days!

Below is a checklist of what you should do in those first 90 days. I encourage you to take these broad strokes and apply them to your particular role and organization.

 1)    Learn the Lay of the Land:

    • Gain a deep understanding of all areas of responsibility, what’s been done thus far, what has worked, what hasn’t, and where there are opportunities to improve
      • Informational Interviews: Good way to learn and develop relationships with your new colleagues. Grab lunch together. Build personal relationships.
    • Understand how your work fits into the organization’s vision and annual goals
    • Make sure you know how to give an elevator pitch on what your organization does and what your role is

     2)    Develop a Work Plan for the First 90 Days:

    • Create templates for organizational methods (I’m a HUGE fan of Together Leader/Teacher!)
    • Set SMART goals for the first 90 days
      • Specific tasks/interim milestones for first 30, 60 days
      • Brainstorm ways in which to improve upon the areas that require improvement (see Lay of the Land above) and, ideally implement a couple of those ways during the first 90 days and measure your impact/success. This will hopefully provide for some quick wins to build momentum.
    • Get your supervisor’s feedback, and buy-in, on your 90 day plan (whether he/she asks for a 30/60/90 day plan or not) in order to ensure alignment
    • At the conclusion of your 90 day plan, you should have all the information you need to develop your annual performance goals
      • If your performance goals are predetermined in your position, by the end of the 90 days you should be able to develop an annual work plan on how to accomplish your annual performance goals

     3)    Solicit Feedback & Coaching:

    • Check-ins with your supervisor:
      • Have more frequent than normal check-ins with your supervisor during your first 90 days (minimum of once a week)
      • During these check-ins be sure to directly solicit feedback on your performance and bring questions
      • Create/modify a check-in template to maximize your check-in time (cover priorities, have a spot for questions, parking lot, etc.)
    • 360 Degree Feedback: In addition to soliciting feedback from your supervisor, be sure to solicit feedback from direct reports, teammates, and colleagues in the organization.
    • Mentors: Everyone needs a mentor, regardless of level or experience. When possible, find this mentor within the organization, such as a more experienced peer who holds the same level role as you that is modeling success, or someone more senior in the organization who knows what success in your role looks like. (Note: I’d encourage you to pick a person other than your supervisor so the relationship can be focused purely on coaching)
      • If no one within the organization is suitable, look outside your organization for mentorship, coaching, and support.

    4)     Professional Development:

    • Assess the role and the areas of strength that you bring, as well as the gaps where you will have to grow, obtain additional resources, learn, etc. in order to accomplish those aspects of the role.
    • Use the first 90 days to develop a plan on how you will leverage your strengths and mediate your areas of growth in order to ensure success

If you address these 4 main areas during your first 90 days, you will be well on your road to success. Have another tip/trick/idea on how to maximize your first 90 days? Share it in the comments section below and let everyone benefit!

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