Are you about to start a new job? So is a friend of ours. I’m excited for him because his new sales job is closer to home and has the potential of increased compensation. But I also know it’s a big change, even though he was already doing sales, so I made a recommendation that’s good advice for any new employee just starting out: Read Michael Watkins’ The First 90 Days–or at least read this post acquainting you with our Great Start Tool, developed from Watkins’ book. The Great Start questions are like signposts that can put you on the path to success in your new role and show you how to build credibility with your new boss.
One important concept from our Great Start questions is what Watkins calls securing an early win in your new job. As a newbie, it’s tough for you to be immediately productive because you haven’t yet learned what certain things mean, who can answer your questions, and what the cultural norms are. If your boss is normal, she is hopeful for but also skeptical of your success until she sees you actually being productive. This is where securing early wins comes in–targeting opportunities for creating value and improving results in your job that will build your credibility and momentum in the eyes of your new employer.
For example, our daughter, a wedding photographer, recently hired a college student to post photos from her galleries to social media in an effort to improve her website’s SEO. For weeks, the student faithfully wrote appropriate captions and posted photos with no results…but then suddenly, one of those photos was recognized and published by the Huffington Post. The student went from being simply a data entry person to a whiz-bang social media guru!
Scott Kuethen, our CEO, suggests that quick wins can come in different forms. It could be making your mark in the job you’re hired to do, as in the example above. Or it could also be tackling something that’s tangential to your core mission. Perhaps you’re hired as the new sales guy and you happen to have experience configuring Client Relationship Management (CRM) systems. You see a way to improve the CRM software, so you use your expertise to make a couple of modifications. Those little changes make a big difference that helps your team members do their jobs better—and you’ve just discovered how to build credibility with your new boss.
How can you make good things start to happen in your new workplace? What will it take for you to become productive quickly and not be just an expensive experiment that your boss hopes will pay off? For starters, use the Great Start questions mentioned above. They can help you learn how to navigate your company and relationships with your boss and the key people who are critical to your success. Using what you learn, target one or two ways to secure early wins that will build your credibility with your boss. The trust you earn, combined with a clear roadmap, will help him or her give you the support and time you need to become a high performer in your new job.
Candidates, do we have the most current version of your resume? If not, click here to post it, and visit our job board while you’re at it! You or a friend might be a good fit for one of our open positions.