As soon as you start a new job, the clock starts ticking. You have scant few months in your new job to make some kind of impact on your success or failure. And remember, you don’t just answer to a ‘boss’ – there are multiple stakeholders who are paying attention to your output.
The biggest challenge you face during the initial first few months is staying focused on doing the right things. What are those right things? Here are three questions to ask during the interview process that should give you a clearer understanding of what your initial priorities are:
How will we define success? This is, of course, the most important question you can ask. It all begins with why the company is putting you into this position, what do key stakeholders expect, and how will this ‘success’ be evaluated? It is essential to know where the goal posts are located so you can take dead aim and focus on your own success within the organization.
Who are my allies? Whatever your new role, you won’t exist in a vacuum. From day one you should know who you can rely on as a resource and what alliances you need to become a part of. Once you have a good idea of who you will need to build a strong relationship with, you can begin that process to secure their backing. Along these lines, you will undoubtably bring something to the table and create quid pro quo relationships. The sooner you understand who your allies are, the quicker you can forge those relationships.
What are the social norms of the company? Call it company culture or corporate cliques, you need the inside dirt on how to act, who not to cross, and how to ‘get along’ and ‘go with the flow’. New employees who cross certain red lines of conduct – regardless of whether they understand the intricacies of company culture – can quickly get labeled as a bad seed. Your colleagues would naturally be loathe to support ‘bad behavior’ or any perceived slights. So get a full download before day one. You don’t want to step in the bull poop your first week on the job.