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A Running Start:

Top Ten Things to Do When Starting a New Position

While it is exciting to step into a new role with a new organization, it can also be challenging and stressful as you navigate uncharted territory. The days of long honeymoon periods are gone, so read on for some suggestions to help you springboard into your new job.

1. Get a running start

Before showing up for the first day of work, be ready to hit the ground running. Do as much "pre-work" as you can. Research the competitive landscape and know how your products/services differ from the competition. Know what the immediate goals are for the business, for the role, and if possible, the challenges you may face. Ask to have forwarded to you priority documents to review. Know the members of your team, who you will be reporting to, and anything else that will help prepare you.

2. Build and maintain long lasting relationships everyday

You can't develop sustainable rapport or credibility with anyone from behind a desk. Put on your PR hat everyday with sincerity and never take any relationship for granted. Meet with all the stakeholders who have a vested interest in your role early on. If you are the CEO, have individual time with board members as well as your staff. Invite colleagues for lunch or coffee. If you are in a corporate role, visit the field on a regular basis. If you are in a business unit, find reasons to interface in person with corporate colleagues via leadership councils, project teams, etc. If you are in sales, get in front of the customer often and don't tell them how good you are, show them! No matter what role we hold, we all have customers - internal, external or both. The customer's perception is reality and they will find a way to work together if they like and respect you.

3. Ask questions and LISTEN

You're not learning anything when you're talking. Embrace the knowledge that can be gained from colleagues at all levels across all functions. Be humble, ask for help and acknowledge how you value their experience and opinions. Solicit candid feedback. Be a team player and benefit from all of the resources available to you. Solo performers have a limited range!

4. Quickly assess your team

How does the company operate? Is it a transparent, collaborative environment? Do they visit each other in person, for example, over lunch in the cafeteria, in the hallways, or does everyone eat at their desks and communicate via email? How involved is the Board? What is your boss' management style? What is the dynamic of your team? How do different functions view each other? How open are they to change? What company events are important to attend?

5. Identify quick wins

Who do you need to impress? What are some short-term things you can do once you have figured that out? What can you do quickly to impress your team, the person you report to and, if different, the person who hired you?

6. Think before you respond

Create a 90-day plan and deliver. As we all know, proper planning helps prevent poor performance. Identify the priorities and set goals to achieve business objectives. Do what you say you are going to do, when you said you would do it, and how you said you would do it.

7. Embrace change

Don't just talk about it, do it! Any person or function without innovation and productivity is a liability.

8. Embrace the culture

You were hired because the board or hiring committee believed you not only have the right skills and experience, but you also are a great fit for the corporate culture. Embrace that culture. Identify the most successful people in the organization, and take note of the way they interact with their teams and colleagues. Observe the ebb and flow of the workday, and absorb the unspoken rules of the company.

9. Get involved

Sign up for a company event or team and volunteer to take on a leadership role as appropriate. Learn and be proud of the company's products and services. Strive to make your company number one in its field. Join the company's Facebook fan page and LinkedIn page and read its blog.

10. Believe in yourself!

If you don't, who will? You can't fool the audience. Take a deep breath, show your confidence, let everybody around you know that this will work out, and it will!

This article was originally published January 11, 2011; updated November 14, 2018.

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Beth Ehrgott

Beth Ehrgott

Managing Director