12 Tips to Nail The 1st 90 Days at Your New Job

career tips first 90 days new job Jul 20, 2019

Did you land a new job and now your brain is swimming with anxiety and self-doubt?

This is normal.

It's new and anything new is usually uncomfortable.

Is this happening to you?

  • Are you feeling nervous about how to get started on the right foot?
  • Has it been awhile since you started a new job and you're not sure how to approach it?
  • Have you thought about how you'll establish credibility with your new manager, the leadership and the team?
  • Are you worried that your past success might have been a fluke and this new job will prove to you and everyone around you that you've been an imposter?

I hear all of these concerns (and more) from my clients and readers.

Again, it's normal to have doubt, anxiety and excitement all wrapped into one.

In today's post, I'll help you push past that to create a solid 90 day plan for yourself.

If you don't plan out a solid first 90 days, you run the risk of losing that prime time to establish your reputation. You may end up creating a hole that is difficult to dig out of.

Here are the 12 tips to nail your first 90 days at your new job:

1. Bond with your manager.

Focus on figuring out what your manager values, how to make their professional life easier, and how to become their go-to person.

2. Identify and connect with your influential colleagues.

These are the people that leaders go to when they need advice and input. They may or may not have a title. Find them and build a relationship with them.

3. Understand the big picture.

Ask questions of your manager and your peers. Find a few trusted advisors, people who seem to understand the corporate culture inside and out. Ask them:

  • How and for what people are rewarded?
  • What does the company and leadership value?
  • What work style is most effective with your manager?
  • How are new ideas most effectively communicated? 
  • What approach seems to backfire when someone wants to propose something new?
  • What work styles don't resonate with your manager?

4. Be cautious who you open up to.

It’s very common to want to open up to colleagues and even your manager about your concerns and uneasiness. Be cautious here. If you’re feeling insecure, find an outside person as a sounding board so that you don’t lose their confidence. A coach is a great person for this!

5. Prioritize value.

It’s easy to get caught up in learning and training. These are important but not as important as doing the work required to drive results. Dive into your job and learn as you go.

6. Understand what motivates your team.

If you’re managing people, get to know them individually. Figure out what motivates them, what their goals are, why they’re working in their job, why they stay, and their past challenges. Get to know each one individually so you can motivate and manage them via a personalized approach.

7. Don’t wait to initiate.

Don’t wait for your manager to ask for your 90 day plan. Build it out and get his/her buy-in on your proposed priorities and definition of success.

8. Define your future self.

Write out the vision of you operating at full capacity in your new role and achieving your next milestone goal. Write it out in detail.

9. Be your future self now.

Begin operating as your future self, as the person who has already accomplished his/her first year goals, as the person who is confident, and who is delivering immense value to your organization.

10. Let go of your past self.

Pinpoint the stories you’ve built up about yourself  through past experiences. None of this matters --- if things went well, past conflicts, past shortcomings, even past success. This is a new opportunity to redefine yourself. Take it!

11. Don’t forget your brain.

Check in with what you’re thinking and feeling on a daily basis. Are you excited, motivated, and focused? Or, are you starting to feel discouraged, unsupported, and questioning your decision?

Figure out what’s causing you to lose momentum. Hint: it’s your thoughts about you, your abilities, your boss, your colleagues, etc. You can shift your thoughts to restore the excitement.

12. Operate at the level above what’s expected.

Understand the expectations (dress code, hours in the office, deliverables, status reporting, communication, etc.) and work at one level above all of these.

Ask yourself: How can I exceed the expectations vs. coming in at or below?

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