The first 90 days at a new workplace are crucial. Within your first 90 days you must not only prove you can perform the job, you must prove you were worth the investment. Over the years, I’ve observed several mistakes new workers make. Unfortunately these rookie mistakes can create lasting impressions causing challenges during tenure.
It is important to remember that your first 90 days lay the foundation for your future success at a company. Within your first 90 days, you can either become just another number or you can choose to set the standard for what you want people to know about who you are and what value you add to the organization. Here are a few suggestions to help you score big in your first 90 days.
If you want to become a recognized leader, people must first know who you are.
Speak up…..Strategically. Yes, you are the newbie but that doesn’t mean you were born yesterday. Make sure the atmosphere is welcoming. Don’t over-talk someone or cut them off. Wait until the timing is appropriate and then share your thoughts. Always start with a positive statement. Just because you started a new job doesn’t mean you lose all your knowledge and skills. Get in there and be a voice.
Observe. Pay attention to how employees interact with one another. See how employees engage during meetings and who speaks up more than others. See who agrees with one person’s view over another. Pay attention to detail and stay aware of your surroundings. Observe what happens during lunch time. Who eats lunch in the break-room? Who eats lunch at their desk? Who goes out with a group for lunch? These little things tell you a lot about employees. The behaviors of employees during lunch hour can give you an idea of who the worker-bees are, and it can help you differentiate the introverts from the extroverts.
Ask questions. To make a conscious decision about who you should and should not interact with, you will have to ask the right questions. See what colleagues say about the company by asking questions such as:
What do you like most about working here?
Who do you enjoy working with the most? Why?
These are light questions that will strike up conversation but also get you to know more about how employees view the company and who the influencers are within the organization. Notice, these questions do not encourage negative conversation. You don’t want to get into a conversation where one employee is bashing another employee, or even worse, the company.
Never Gossip. New employees often find themselves in difficult circumstances, often facing the pressure to engage in gossip. Imagine high-school years; having the desire to be accepted and part of a group. This pressure can sometimes cause you to do things you don’t want to do; but you do it anyway. Distance yourself from gossip. You don’t know anyone enough to have an opinion and even if you did, gossip never has a positive outcome. Gossip is a distraction, a distraction you cannot afford to engage in. Remember, leaders don’t blend in, they stand-out among the many.
Problem Solving – Stay Positive. When a problem arises digest the issues, provide positive responses and focus on the resolve. Diffuse any finger-pointing by reminding the group to focus on fixing the issue, not re-hashing details leading up to the problem. Forget fitting in. Instead focus on being confident and results driven; the rest will follow.
Bottom Line. Don’t look at the first 90 days as a tip-toe situation requiring you to stay under the radar. Look at it as an opportunity to lay a solid foundation about who you are and what you can do to improve performance and sustainability at an organization. Initiate conversation with those in leadership positions and never let the suit intimidate you.
Mary V. Davids is the Founder and Managing Member of D&M Consulting Services, LLC. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing employee motivation and workplace performance, leadership coaching and training & development. She also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. Book Mary to speak at your next event or hire Mary for leadership & professional development consultation today. Follow Mary on twitter @MVDavids.