Starting a new job or stepping into a new role can seem intimidating at first — you’re expected to ramp up on new processes, projects and people while proving your worth. And while it’s easy to check a bunch of ad hoc tasks off your list, what will set you apart from your peers is the ability to be more strategic in your role so you can make a greater impact on your company’s bottom line. Use these insights to get started and navigate this complex new landscape.
I cannot stress how important this step is — and the sooner you do it upon starting a new role, the better it will be for you in the long run. The goals you set for yourself to accomplish should always align with the company’s business objectives. But first, you’ve got to learn what they are. Do the groundwork to find out what those are, and based on that you can determine what your priorities should be.
Often we get caught up in the cycle of merely being a drive-through service — taking people’s orders and checking off the box of tasks we’re given. Instead, be proactive in taking your learnings about the bigger-picture company goals and talking to your manager about what would be the most impactful actions you could take over the next month, quarter and year that will move the needle for the company. Print these out and pin them up at your desk or in your office as a constant reminder to stay on track.
Once you’ve taken the first two steps, it’s time to create a list of individuals (team members, business leaders, subject matter experts, etc.) who we’ll call Tier 1. Tier 1 is the immediate group of people you will need to interact with on a regular basis to achieve your goals. Set up introductory meetings and come prepared with a list of questions so you can better understand what they do and, more importantly, establish ways you can work together to achieve common goals.
Of all the steps listed here, this can be the most challenging. After all, saying “no” to people at work can be difficult: You don’t want it to look like you’re hard to work with or don’t want to put in the work. You want to please people and get on their good side. The problem with trying to please everyone is that it doesn’t lead you to your goals — or, even if it does, it can be the roundabout way. You’ve heard that saying, “Don’t work harder; work smarter,” right? That means don’t do busy work or say yes to random requests — it means keep your eyes focused on the prize and only say yes to what will get you there. If you’ve put in the work, you should feel confident in the decisions you make.
It’s important in any new role to score some quick wins within the first 90 days. To be more strategic in your role, ask questions like the following to determine if it would be worth your time to invest time, energy and resources in it. “What is the goal of this project?” “What will success look like?” “How will this ladder up to company goals?” “What is the ROI?” Based on what you learn, you can hone in on what key projects to focus on that will make an impact that you can then share with your team.
Congratulations on your new career adventure and good luck!
Check out my related post: How to stay positive during a job search?