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Leveraging the first 90 days in a new leadership role

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Stepping into a new leadership role can be challenging, despite how much previous experience you might have had. There are likely going to be new team members, different ways of operating, new peers and likely new superiors. Navigating this landscape and establishing your position is critical for long-term success. In order to do so, you must take advantage of the first 90 days. This process does not begin, however, on day one.

Leading up to the new leadership role, you have to start with doing your homework. This step largely consists of understanding the company, the role and the team. Much of this research can be conducted online, but will only give you part of the picture. Additional information can be gathered during the interview process. As you are meeting with your potential new leadership and team members, you can ask questions to gauge more about the team, operating styles, reporting structure, etc. This step helps lay the groundwork for days zero to 90.

Once you have received notice that you got the job. The next step is making a positive first impression on your first day. Meeting with your boss and your new team is critical on the first day. These meetings should be at least an hour long and preferably in person. Key topics should include, but are not limited to identifying key metrics, objectives, major projects, and the team’s perceived strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, sharing background information about yourself with help make a connection with these folks and begin to build relationships.

Now that you have the first day out of the way, laying the foundation over the next two weeks is critical. Two key objectives during this time include learning as much about the business and organization as possible as well as building strong relationships throughout the organization. Many of these meetings should be one-on-one and include your team members, other leaders in similar positions, rising stars in the company, and former team members or leaders. These individuals will help you gain a deeper understanding of how you can achieve your new goals.

There are two parts to the remaining 90 days: the first two months and the third month. The first two months should consist of strategy development, defining the structure for your team, and making final staffing decisions. In the third and final month of the first 90 days, you should communicate your decisions made in the first two months and be a change agent for executing these initiatives.

Execution in your first 90 days as a leader is paramount and will shape the future success of you and your team. By following the outline above, you will have a better chance at successfully transitioning into your new role and building an effective team around you.