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You've been looking for that great next job and now that you've landed it, how do you ensure you get off to a great start?   Looking at successful leaders who are able to join new teams and organizations and ultimately excel, common trends make themselves apparent. 

Take time to meet people

One of the biggest success enablers, not only when starting a new job, but in being successful in your current position revolves around strong relationships.  That is why this should be a key focus in your first few months in a new job.  Taking the time to introduce yourself and to get to know the people you will be working with helps ensure your success on a number of fronts.  First, you’ll start to learn who the key players are.  Second, before you walk into a situation when you need to influence the outcome, you’ll already have an understanding of the people involved.  Third, and most importantly, you’ll already have the start to a good relationship in place when the time comes where you need something from that person. 

Spend time building a widget

An often overlooked step when starting a new job, especially in senior leadership, is a foundational understanding of how their business functions from an operational perspective.  Taking the time to walk the process and see it from the customer’s perspective can be invaluable in later decision making.  Spending time watching the process also affords you with a unique opportunity to interact with front line staff and solicit first hand inputs on what works and what doesn't.  The best improvement ideas often come from those that are closest to the product or customer. 

Identify the Key Performance Indicators and measure them

Now that you've seen the process, you need to measure and evaluate its performance.  Understanding the key performance indicators that measure your business is one of the first ways, when starting a new job, you can begin to understand where your organization falls on the maturity curve.  In some cases you may find that sufficient process or business measurements do not exist or are under developed.  Learning this early on will enable you to kick off data and measurement improvement efforts early in your tenure. 

Learn the Culture and speak the language

Knowing and understanding the cultural norms in your new organization or team can greatly help you to influence and at the least make sure you avoid crippling missteps while getting up to speed.  Some areas you want to focus on are understanding the core values and shared views of the organization.  Also be mindful of clarifying the meaning of terminology used by those around you.   One of the easiest ways to create misunderstandings or delays when starting a new job is the use of verbiage or terminology that means different things to different people.   Some examples might include the work process, system, workflow, KPI, CRM, development, competency, among others.  This will vary by organization so be sure to limit assumptions you make based on the meanings you've placed on words or concepts in prior roles or organizations.

Learn how to manage your new boss

You can only be as successful as your new boss believes you are so it is critically important to spend time understanding your boss’ approach and what they value.  You also want to negotiate and agree on the key expectations and goals for your first 3-6 months in your new role.  A fast way to a negative outcome is losing the support of your boss on key priorities.   You ultimately need their support and full buy in on your early planning as you will often rely on them to influence getting the resources, budget, or visibility you need to drive initiatives forward. 

While each role and organization will present its own unique challenges when starting a new job, ensuring you take time to focus on these 5 critical steps will lay the strong foundation you’ll need to get off to a great start.