The right way to start a new role

Starting in a new role gives you  unique window on a business.  For a short time, you see the opportunities and challenges through an untainted window.  With fresh eyes, it often feels easier to Know what you need to do and where you need to start.  It’s very easy to miss this golden opportunity in the first weeks and months, so I’ve adopted a couple of tactics to make the most of this golden opportunity.

Firstly, avoid jumping into action stations at all costs!  It;’s very easy to get caught up in the detail of focusing on a fix, without using the fresh perspective to ask why this fix, and will this deliver the desired outcome?  Despite strong urges, I avoid my natural compulsion to make lists, set up action plans and dive in.  Instead, I allow the broader perspective to rise to the surface.

With regards the people I manage, again, my natural instinct as a nurturing manager kicks in, and I want to fix their problems, make them happy and sort out everything. I constantly need to remind myself as a manager, this isn’t my place – to deprive them of the learning of how to drive change, how to overcome barriers, or how to repair strained relationships would be disrespectful of their ability and tenure in their role.  Instead, I remember my leadership mantra – be humble – I offer support, and take the role of consultant, rather than boss to help them prioritise.  I love to make the focus simple (which will be the topic of my next post!)

With my peers, I know their is a wealth of history, knowledge, context and data.  The right thing to do is to hear them out, seek their steer, let them share the progress to date.  Each will have their own style, their own challenges and their own personality.  My initial task is to figure out how best to work with them, and see where the most pressing conflicts are, so that we can jointly fix the stuff that matters the most.  For some peers, they may see my role as a barrier, a threat or even adding little value, so I have to work hard to help them understand why businesses really should value CX (customer experience.)  Giving them a quick win will help in this process.

And finally, with any new boss, the expectations are going to be high.  They’ve spent a shed load of money finding and recruiting me, and throughout the interview process, I’ve done my best to impress.  Translating their emotional desires into achievable and realistic outcomes is very important.  This may take some tweaking of their thoughts, re-alignment of budgets and re-setting of more realistic expectations, but ensuring that I have a common view of what is required with my boss will free me up to focus on who will deliver these outcomes and how best I can support and drive them.

Of course, within a week or two of joining a business, I can’t help but start to work on the masterplan, thinking 4 or 5 years out with where “amazing” might be, and how to get there.  In the first 6 weeks, an offsite with my own team to share, get buy-in and start to build the plan follows, with a cascading message up and down.  The direction is set in the first 90 days, the commitment is made and the measures defined.  It’s such a fantastic time, I sometimes would forget to enjoy this golden period, but this time in my new role, I’m cherishing the chance to step back and enjoy the journey to deliver even better CX.

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