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Here is a 4 part framework to ROCK at your new job

The first 90 days of any new job are super important.

You have done much hard work to get here.You’ve gone through a grueling job search process. You’ve gone through multiple interviews. You have negotiated a great offer and start date.

You’ve landed this job. Or maybe you moved into a new role in the same company. So now you are here. Ready to start on a new gig. These are your first 90 days. 

Here’s why these early days are so important.

You have to establish credibility at your new job

One of the most important part of your new job is to make sure you’re establishing that credibility.

The organization that has  just hired you. They have seen the potential inside of you. They know that you can get the job done. They know you want to make a mark.

But here’s what they need to see

  • They need assurance that you are capable
  • They need assurance that you are a cultural and organization fit
  • They need assurance that you will be able to adapt

The above points were about the organization’s perspective.

From your perspective,  here’s what you would be looking to do in the first 90 days

  • Establish credibility around your capabilities
  • Connect with colleagues and develop great working relationships
  • Define your personal brand in the organization

As you work through your first days, make sure you create a connection with the people that you’re going to work with on a long term basis. When you step into a new role or a new job, most of the people around you have no idea what you’ve done before. This is a great opportunity for you to reestablish your personal brand so that you can actually show up as “the right person for this job” and cement your credibility which is so important.

4 Part Framework (ILPA)

Now let me share a way for you to establish your credibility, connections and personal brand in the first 90 days.

I call it ILPA, which is an acronym for Introduction, Learn, Plan, and Act.

1. I is for Introduction

The first component is I, which is introduction. Introduction is your narrative. It is similar to your elevator pitch, but this is really about your narrative.
What is your story? What is the story that you want to tell others as you’re introducing yourself at this new job? This is about making sure that you have a narrative and a story that you can tell others.

2. L is for Learning

Learn is about learning about your role, your organization and your organization’s charter, structure, strategy etc.

Your main job in this ‘Learn’ phase is to listen intently.

After you’ve done your intro, listen and absorb.

Understanding the role

You have to understand the role in detail and know the real expectations of this role.

During the interviews, it may have been abundantly clear that this role comes with specific roles and responsibilities, but you have to double click into those and understand the expectations of this role. This is key because in the future you will have to manage those expectations 🙂

Understanding the organization

The other side of Learn component is to understand, what is your organization doing?

What is the organization’s business, what is the organization’s strategy? How do they approach their charter?

Take many notes and learn everything about the organization:

  1. Org structure
  2. Strategy
  3. Current processes and systems
  4. Current projects
  5. New Initiatives

Most importantly, know the people: key roles and people in those roles, who are the influencers, who are the right stakeholders.

It is essential to know the key individuals in the organization and establish great working relationships that will be so important for your work ahead.

3. P is for Planning

Second phase of this 90 plan is plan. Now that you’ve learned a little bit more about the organization, and you know the strategy and you know some of the current initiatives, it’s a great opportunity for you to start creating your plan.

Your own work plan about how you’re going to approach your job. What are the things that you are going to do in the near future about your job? As you look at this new role,  you have to start to lay the foundations of what your work plan will be, let’s say, for the next three months, six months, 12 months, or even 18 months. This is a good area to establish some structure, some roles and responsibilities for this work plan that you are developing.

4. A is for Act

Then last, but not the least, is about act. It’s about execution. You’re no longer in the phase of just learning and knowing the people and knowing the plan, etc. You now have a draft of your work plan, and you started to execute on that.

This reason this is important is because you have to show that you’re not only a person who can engage with the org and create a work plan, but that you are also about getting involved in the action in the first 90 days.

Summary

ILAP: Introductions, Learn, Plan and Act

These steps may or may not be linear. They might overlap. And that’s ok. You don’t need to engineer this. 

Roughly, it takes about a month for each step. If you look at a 30, 60, 90 day plan. It is not necessary to consume all 30 days for each of these steps, but in general, that’s a good metric.

Pro Tips

  • Socialize your plan: You have to start socializing your plan with your stakeholders, and also figure out how you want to work with them.
  • Understand everyone’s work styles: it does take some time to understand each other’s work styles. You don’t need to rush those. You can start to put that into action based on your learning in the act area. 
  • Record your outside-in observations: Most of the time in a new role, you have a outside in experience. When you have that outside in view, which is so fresh in your mind because you’re coming in from the outside or you’re coming into this new role, not knowing the lay of the land, etc., make all the notes you can about your observations, about this new area. These observations will be critical for you as you develop into this new role or this new job. I would highly recommend keeping those notes for a long time and continue to have a more outside in experience as you transition into this new job.
  • Tell your story: have a great narrative as you introduce yourself to make an impression. You don’t need to go overboard but be confident and friendly.

It is a framework for you to use. Feel free to contextualize and customize it for your new role.

What do you think of this framework? What would you add to it?

Blog, Career strategy, Job performance

How to deal with office politics and emerge as a true leader

Office politics is everywhere: a big company, medium-sized company, or a small company. And this is to across industries and geographies.

You can’t ignore office politics

Companies are made up of human beings. And where there are human beings, there will always be politics. Will the future world of AI and robots have zero politics? That would be a rich discussion for another time.

You can choose to participate in office politics or you can choose to stay away from it. But one thing you cannot do is ignore it.

Therefore, office politics is here to stay. Here is how can you deal with office politics and address politics in a very professional way and emerge as a leader.

Show leadership by keeping yourself above politics

By staying above the office politics area, you can demonstrate that you are really about leading rather than following.

  • You absolutely should demonstrate that you are an objective leader
  • If people around you are speaking negatively about a person or a project or a team, stay away from it
  • If the conversation is turning negative, figure out how to move it in a positive direction

Political issues = controversial, thorny issues

In spite of taking the high road, there will likely be controversial and thorny. And these areas can’t be sidestepped, they have to be addressed.

Here are some ways to bring objectivity and leadership when you are dealing with political topics in the office.

#1 Approach it from a customer’s lens

Here’s the approach that you can use to help you and your team to figure the right thing to do” what is the customer perspective on this topic? The customer’s always right. Customers are the reason your company is in business.

Having a customer’s perspective and getting an understanding of how this topic affects customers is a great way to get above office politics.

#2 Data is your friend

A great way to be objective and clear about a controversial topic is to make data and facts your friend. So, whenever you’re dealing with politics, whenever you’re dealing with gossip, whenever you’re dealing with posturing from other people, think about how can you make your communication clear and fact-based. Because making data and fact part of your DNA will really help you get above office politics and put yourself above hearsay, put yourself above gossip.

Always ask yourself, “What’s the right thing to do given these datapoints and facts?”

#3 Take the “whole company” perspective

Now that you’ve taken the customer perspective, now take the whole company perspective and see what’s the right thing to do for the entire company

Many times, leaders might be optimizing a decision to better suit a specific function within a company. That might come at the expense of another function in the company which destroys value.

Customer first, then it’s company, and then it’s your immediate function or your immediate team. But by having the most data and the most facts with you, you can rise above office politics and you can rise above all of the gossip and the innuendo that goes on by communicating facts.

Building your personal brand above office politics

Here’s the thing that will emerge as you move out of office politics and you emerge as the fact-based, objective leader: you will be creating a great personal brand. Your personal brand will get a lot of steroids the more you rely on data, the more you rely on facts.

That’s the way you can start positioning yourself to the next level as well. So, you’re doing a double whammy here. Number one is you are removing yourself from office politics, which, in itself, is a great thing, but then you’re starting to build your personal branding, which will help your trajectory and your organization.

Blog, Career hacks, Career strategy, Job performance

Take your job performance to the next level with these four steps (+bonus material) to

The average job performance review process creates more negativity than a positive work environment. There are multiple reasons for that and mismatch in expectations is one of them.

But you are here to be a CareerTiger, not just another ordinary clock-punching employee.

So here four steps to take your job performance to the next level. Plus a bonus step. Yes, there is a free prize inside.

Fundamental issues with job performance and what can we learn from them

The issue with job performance, or lower job performance, is because many people do not understand what’s expected of them in their job. In other words, many people who are in their jobs, they don’t know what their manager or their organization is expecting from them in that job. If you don’t know what that expectation is, then you won’t be able to perform according to that expectation. So, if you are not performing to that expectation, guess what? According to your manager and the rest of your organization, you are performing below par.

Therefore, it’s critical to understand what the right expectation is for your job and for your role. To do that and to exceed performance in your job, here are the four steps (+bonus) that I would recommend for you to go through.

#1 Understand expectations of your job role

The first step is to understand. Write down on a piece of paper … Don’t type, don’t whiteboard, just write down on a piece of paper what is expected of you in this role. What are your responsibilities? How will you be measured in this job? Having that information on a single sheet of paper is probably the most important thing you could do. So, again, the first step is to take a sheet of paper and understand your role in the organization, which is what are your responsibilities, and how will you be measured? That’s the first understanding step that you ever take. Write it down on a piece of paper.

#2 Review job expectations with your manager

The next one is … It’s likely difficult, but it’s doable. Once you understand the expectations of your role, the next step is for you to go to your boss and say, “You know, I’ve been in this role for some time. I would like to make sure I understand these expectations really clearly,” and you sit down with your manager and you go through your understanding of the role. You might actually be surprised that there might be differences between what you think your role is and what your manager thinks your role is, and maybe your peers or other execs in the company think your role is.

Therefore, it’s really important to align with your manager on expectations of your role

  • Sit down with your manager
  • Review the expectations of your role
  • Know how you’re going to be measured

Having a hard conversation about expectations is a thousand times better than years of mismatched expectations and poor job performance reviews.

#3 Reset expectations

Here’s the interesting part: you absolutely can reset some of those expectations.

Do your homework about your responsibilities for the role, and reset some of those expectations with your boss. Why is that important? Because your boss, your manager, the rest of the organization may not know enough details about your role versus others’ roles, and they may be thinking you are responsible for all of these things. So, this is a good opportunity for you to reset their expectations.

This could be a challenging or painful conversation. But having this conversation is a thousand times better than years of mismatched expectations and poor job performance reviews.

#4 Amp up your performance

Once you know the expectations of your role and you’ve reset those expectations and be on the same page with your manager and the rest of the organization, it is time for your performance to shine.

There is no question about that. There is no shortcut to hard work. You have to perform. But here’s the deal, as you perform, you will do much better now than prior years or prior months or prior time because you understand what’s expected of you; you understand what are your metrics, how are you going to be measured in the organization.

#5 (Bonus) Exceeding expectations

So, now you know what’s expected, and now you’re going to perform and exceed those expectations, which is the next part: exceeding those expectations. You know what’s expected and you continue to exceed those expectations. That’s how you go from a mediocre performer in the company because you do not know what’s expected of you, and now you go to an outstanding performer in the company because you know what’s expected of you, you perform, and you exceed. Let me give you an example of salespeople. You may have met many, many salespeople in your life, but the best salespeople in the business always meet or exceed their sales goal. You know why that is? That is because they have negotiated the sales number that they are responsible for, and they always exceed that number by performance.

As you outperform in this role, the bonus step for you as follows. Now you’re showing inward that you are performing at the next level. Step number five is to show outward that you are really performing at the next level. Show it in your body language and the way you come across. So, for example, as you’re outperforming, you need to make sure your body language is reflecting your performance. I.e., sit up straight, pay attention, have a presence in your interactions with your peers, with your teams, with your upper management.

Summary: Understand expectations, reset them with your boss, perform; there is no shortcut to hard work. You have to perform. And as you perform, you’ll perform much better because now you know how are you going to be measured, what’s expected of you, and you exceed those expectations.

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