Can you imagine what it’s like to take on a role as a president? Starting such a big job with the worlds’ eyes upon you seems an impossible task. But just as if he was taking on any other position, Donald Trump will have a plan.

If YOU want to make an impact in an important role, consider these strategies …

Don’t forget that most employers believe that in the first 3 months their new staff member will want to impress. Therefore, in the first 3 months you ought to see the best of a new hire. If the first 3 months are disappointing, then why prolong your anguish, it is not going to get any better, so take appropriate action.

Bearing this in mind, you have a real opportunity to shape your reputation and make an impact in the new business you’re about to join. So here’s a handy list of things to do:

1. The month before your start date, you need to:

a. Complete your research on the business if you had not already done so during your interview preparation. Make sure you know as much as you can about the senior management and particularly your line manager. Investigate the financial results for the last few years.
b. Meet as many of your new peers and team as possible. Make sure you get invited to the company conference, strategy meeting or day out, so that you can develop some relationships before you actually join.
c. If you join a retail organisation make certain to visit the stores, buy from their web site, effectively behave as a Mystery Shopper. Whilst you’re at it, do the same for their closest competitors.
d. Draw up a plan for your first 60 to 90 days. What do you want to achieve and how do you want to be measured for your performance during this initial period?
e. Make certain to obtain a copy of your induction programme before day one. It is better to know what to expect than to walk in blind on your first day. Is it a proper programme or just a series of introductory meetings? Are there gaps in the time table? If so, have a plan for how to fill these gaps. If the detail in the induction plan leaves much to be desired, then have suggestions ready on day 1 of what else you could do in addition to the planned activity.

2. Day one:

a. Ask questions, make notes, try and remember the names and faces of as many key people as you can.
b. Make sure to ask at what time people tend to arrive for work (make sure to get there at that time the following day) and the same for what time people tend to leave.
c. Thank everyone you spent time with for making the effort, where appropriate ask them what their expectations are from their new work colleague.

3. End of week one:

a. Make absolutely sure that you have a review meeting with your line manager. Have you met their expectations in the last 5 days? What could you have done differently?
b. Tell them that, once you have your feet under the desk (say at the end of week 3 or 4), you would like to share with them your plans for your first 3 and first 6 months. Lay the ground, plant the seed, manage their expectations – call it what you will.

4. End of month one:

a. Your line manager is expecting your feedback and your plan, because that is what you have mentioned a few different times now in the last 4 weeks. Do not deliver a fait accompli, a cast iron, set-in-concrete plan from which there will be no deviation. Instead, ask permission for implementing a few ideas you have, what would they think if you did xyx, how do they feel the team would react if you did abc? You get the drift – if there is an opportunity to make your line manager look good and if, at the end of the conversation, they believe they had a hand in defining your plan, you will achieve far greater buy-in.
b. Make sure that you agree when and how you will be measured (and make sure that you feel that the measurement of success is fair).
c. This is also the time to deliver some gentle feedback from your experience in your first 4 weeks. Carefully ‘test’ some of your early observations and make some gentle inquiries about the company politics:

* Johnny seems to come in late most days of the week. Does he work flexi hours or are there mitigating circumstances?
* I seem to sense some tension between Mary and Peter, am I just imagining that or is there something I should know about?
* Although I found my induction adequate, I did think it slightly odd that some of the senior management seemingly did not find it important. I am yet to meet the HR Director. Is it just me or is that quite usual?

5. During month two:

a. Agree the frequency of updates with your line manager, make sure you tell them the good, the bad and the ugly. At this point it does not (in fact not at any point) make sense to over promise and under deliver.
b. Make sure that your colleagues and / or team know what you are working on, share your plans, gain some support, observe who doesn’t support you or even obstructs you. Take some advice on how to deal with those who are obstructing. In my experience it is best to deal with these people head on, some you will win over, some you won’t. It doesn’t matter, at least they (and you) know where they stand. If you leave it to fester, you won’t win any of them over.
c. Start to develop relationships outside your direct circle of contacts within the business. If you do not have a mentor from within the business yet, you really ought to make sure that you have one in place by the end of month two.

6. At the end of month three:

a. Update with your line manager – agree that you have achieved what you set out to do.
b. Ask for feedback:
* what could you have done differently?
* generally what impact have you made?
* Have there been any negative comments from anyone? What did those relate to?
* Are they happy with your performance to date? Are you meeting or exceeding expectations?
c. Agree an action plan for the next three months.
d. Go to the pub and celebrate!

Follow @maartenjonckers on twitter for links to more articles on the subject and retail related chat

 

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