The First Ninety Days
With every new job, there is a short but finite honeymoon period — it’s called that, because similar to marriage, there is an initial rush of adrenalin and endorphins and obviously, the promise of the new opportunities — if there was not promise, why bother leaving one position for another? — and everyone bask in that glow. In time, those feelings might change, and reality will gradually come back into focus. Familiarity will erode the novelty and the real challenges of the role will become apparent. Some employees already recognize this, but many are not fully aware/cognizant… your first ninety days on the job holds the greatest indicator of nearly all your future success in that role.
Regardless of your background, skill set and the environment, the fundamentals of the challenges, of the situation remains the same. It may be that you’re brought on-board for a new effort (growth), or to replace someone, either doing a good job (maintenance) or doing a bad job (rescue), there is a transition period where you will have the least amount of knowledge, despite of whatever other hard skills you bring to the table. More importantly, there will be a lot of focus/emphasis because you’re often the visual representation of the change itself. Momentarily, it may seem like one of the three — growth, maintenance, rescue — may have an advantage over another, but ultimately, you’d want to excel in any one specific, as long as you’re aware of the challenges going into the new setting.
I won’t bother with the specific strategies, as there are no two situation that’s exactly alike. But a similar approach may be adopted at addressing all scenarios, regardless of origin — and to some degree — or the challenge itself. Learn quickly. Examine the problems you’re asked to solve quickly, and pick the right strategy for attack. Garner some quick wins, however small. And if you make mistakes, make them smaller and make them more quickly. Build those relationships with the stakeholders, and make sure the technology and the technical solutions show sufficient alignment to the business itself. As you cultivate those relationships, measure them in the level of reciprocal support, because you’ll need them down the road, when things get really tough. And did I mention do everything as fast as possible? It’s not rocket science, but it will require some effort and a clear vision and sharp, critical thinking. It’s a piece of cake, as long as you can catch your breath. The clock is ticking, why are you still sitting there, just reading?