New Job….New Boss

March 17th, 2011

Well, you have done it: landed that terrific new position. And here is where the work begins!

A wonderful career writer, Tom Jackson, said: “ A job is something you do, not something you get.” Your job search may be over, and your on-boarding is just beginning.

And, with it, all of your self-management, relationship nurturing, thoughtful messaging and marketing skills that you honed during the interview process will be called upon even more. Just as you mapped out a search campaign, prepared for interviews, followed up, did your research, and conducted thorough due diligence while pursuing your new position, you will need to position yourself to be effective with your new boss, colleagues and reports from the very first day.
Some things to consider:

  • Contract with Your Boss: Set priorities based on how s/he defines success. If you don’t know clearly what they are, ask.
  • Absorb Before Acting: Understand the culture, the chain of command (formal and informal), the potential and the resistances before taking action….especially if you were brought in to be a change agent.
  • Align Yourself Cautiously: Find out who the influencers, informers, historians, insiders and outsiders are before forging allies or defining adversaries.
  • Ask Many, Many Questions: Learn how decisions really get made and by whom, find out whose success depends on you, discern the most immediate concerns, and whether the culture and stakeholders will support your vision/mission.
  • Perform a Staff SWOT: Interview and assess key players and all of your staff members individually to better understand their expectations, needs, issues, conflicts, goals, frustrations, dreams.
  • Plan a Few Early Wins: Engage in information gathering, feedback, float pilots and small projects to measure the reaction to small, incremental changes. Build on achievement and successes and acknowledge generously. Recognize and shape desired behaviors, business initiatives, and ideas.
  • Attend to Style: Focus on feedback and self-awareness…adapt style to context. Balance drive with an empathy for the challenges change and transition create. Be accessible, steady and inspirational.
  • Think, Plan and Act Forward: Avoid the tendency to compare your new home to the one you just left.

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