I have always noted that President’s get their First Hundred Days, and so should you as a new staffer! This transition time is foundational for your success as a new hire or as an internal hire in a new leadership role. Many assume that internal hires will not need an on-boarding process. I am of the opinion that you as an internal hire should also be granted a transition period, the agenda will be different than an external hire, but this step will help you successfully transition into a new role in the organization.
Regardless of who you were in the past, today is a new day within your company and might be the most important of your tenure.
As the new hire you need to take the time to Listen, Look and Learn over your on-boarding process. I know this sounds too easy, and I can promise this will be hard work. Here are some examples of what to do over the orientation period.
As a tribute to my sage grandmother, we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. Never forget that you need to listen more than you speak!
This is important whether you are the new kid on the block or the new kid in the seat. So many of your colleagues across the organization will offer advice and counsel early on in this process.
You must listen carefully, and I suggest you take copious notes, but initially keep your own counsel as you review what you have heard. Various agendas will be in play and will reflect what you have been told.
Never forget that colleagues and staff want to be heard and will pay close attention if you are in fact listening to them.
You have been appointed to this new role based on your past experiences, successes, gravitas and transferable skills. You need to take the time to be observant of the organization and how it looks and feels.
This is often done by the simple management by walking around principle and stopping to make observations and ask questions or seek clarification. This looking often will yield you a deeper sense of the company culture and the esprit de corps of your group or division.
This is an important time to ask A More Beautiful Question over merely seeking answers. Warren Berger’s latest book is an excellent resource. I suggest that you learn as much as you can before defining a strategy and designing a plan for implementation.
A good rule of thumb is at least six weeks of learning and listening and looking before sharing an initial plan with your immediate manager to see you are on the right page. From this draft, you might have some added listening, looking and learning to do.
This transition or on-boarding is critical to your success. During this time you will begin also build your mentors, champions and sponsors for you in this role. No one is successful by themselves. There will be a village of supporters who you will find and who will find you in this new role.
Diane Fennig is a senior consultant with the Human Capital Group and specializes in recruitment and career development. She holds a BA, MS and PhD from Marquette, Miami of Ohio and the University of South Carolina respectively. Follow her at @FansofFennig.