May 18, 2022

Your First 90 Days

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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When you start a new role, you want to give the best impression, be successful, and have your boss thinking “wow, they were the right fit!”. There is a lot of advice out there about how to approach your first 90 days in a new job. What you’re going to hear today is different than anything you’ve heard before. I am telling you exactly how to approach your first 90 days whether you’re moving internal or external.

You’re going to know what to focus on in a way that is going to feel simple and easy. You aren’t just going to focus on the impact you want to make at work but also, how to avoid losing yourself in your new job. It’s common to start something new and before you know it, your work becomes your life. You are trying to be perfect and be your best, and what you sacrifice is your home life. Not anymore. Tune in to this episode to know exactly what to focus on that is going to leave you happy, energized, and making a huge positive splash in your new role.

What You’ll Learn

What to consider when starting a new role

The simple strategy that will ensure you make a positive impact from day 01

How to maintain balance between work and home life from the beginning

Tips for being successful that you won’t find anywhere else

Featured in This Episode

Starting a New Leadership Role
The Perfect 1-1 Framework
Getting to the Next Level with Jon Mason
Work with Melissa

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Welcome to Navigating Your Career, the only podcast that blends personal development, professional skills, and psychology to help you get happy at work and live the life you want. If you want to stop feeling stuck and start are feeling better, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Melissa Lawrence. Let’s get started.

Happy Wednesday. Welcome to episode 86 of the podcast Your 1st 90 Days. And today we are going to talk about what to do in your 1st 90 days of a new role. Even if you aren’t starting a new role right now, you can use this episode to be more effective in your current role or keep it in mind for your next transition. I have had so many clients start new roles lately. I am seeing LinkedIn updates daily with people moving into new roles internally and externally. And so I wanted to do a podcast episode that is focused really on any level of role, internal or external. And what I really suggest you prioritize and focus on in those 1st 90 days that are going to have the biggest impact and help you set up your new role for success and not lose yourself in the process. So in an earlier episode of the podcast, I share some key things to do when you’re starting a new leadership role. And this episode is going to be different because it’s going to be relevant to all roles and it’s going to Zoom out a bit into the purpose of a 90 day plan and how to use it.

And I will link to that earlier episode though, for those of you that want to check it out now, when you start a new role, whether it’s internal or external, you want to be effective. From day one, you probably want your new manager and team to think, wow, she really was the best candidate. She’s hitting it out of the park. The problem is that your onboarding program realistically isn’t going to get you there. Onboarding tends to focus more on business acumen, system set up and what you need to know to start working, but it isn’t specific to your role. So what if you’re a new manager? What if you’ve never led people before? What if this is a new team altogether and you’re feeling some doubt creeping and some compare and despair and you want to make sure that you’re focusing on the right things? And maybe there is a leadership development program or an onboarding program for managers, but you have to wait until the next cohort starts and you want to make sure that in those immediate couple of days and weeks you’re really setting the tone and putting your best foot forward for your new team.

And if you’re anything like my clients, you want to proactively be able to problem solve, meaning you don’t want to be caught off guard and you want to know how to handle any situation that comes up in advance. You also want to stand out as a leader regardless of your position. You want to be seen as value add an expert and the best from day one, and you want to be able to offer your ideas, create change, and use your expertise without stepping on anyone’s toes. You want to know you’re doing a good job too, and get that feedback. And if you’ve been listening for a while, you’re probably not surprised that my take on this is going to be different than the mainstream advice. But my perspective on this is that I want you to lean on yourself and your expertise and not a generic checklist or learning a new terminology that is likely just going to confuse you and make you think you’re doing something wrong if you don’t get it. All right. Because I know that there are a lot of books you could probably go on Pinterest and look for 90 days checklist or new manager onboarding.

I think there may even be a book called your 1st 90 days, right? Like there are resources out there, but a lot of times they’re not necessarily coming from the perspective of you as a person. It’s more you as a cog in a process like you are a oh my gosh, I don’t know if this analogy I’m so bad at analogies, I should just stop trying to do them. But I think it’s like a process. And when I look at books like this and these frameworks, it’s like insert you like you’re a peg on a game board or something and you’re just going to go from each step to step and you’re going to pass go. And these are the things you’re going to do, right? And it kind of removes the human element of what it’s like to be someone starting a new role and that you aren’t just a cog in a process. You’re not just a gameboard piece. You are a human. You have feelings and experiences, you have a home life. You have all of these things to balance. And I know a lot of you want to execute perfectly. And if you’re so focused on a checklist or an external process like that, like what I described, then you’re not really leaning on your own intuition and your own experience and expertise.

And don’t get me wrong, there is some strategy that I’m going to share with you, too. It isn’t all just about the touchy Feely and your mindset. Here are my assumptions for you, though. I’m assuming you’re a high performer, that you work hard and that you’re qualified for your new role. And here’s an important point. You may look around and think other people in your role have more experience or education or bigger titles and you worry how you’ll measure up. But listen, you were hired. You were already selected. You were selected for the role that you’re going into against the competition you’re already in. It was already decided that you belong and that you’re amazing. So let’s just take that off the table as an issue. Now as you approach your new role, I’m going to explain how you should approach your 90 days from an internal and external perspective. Internal is going to be the things that you need to do for you. External are going to be the outward things that you do for others, for your team, for your company. And I’m going to give you guidance for both the internal and external things.

So let’s start with internal. This is all within your 1st 90 days. So internally you will have a mindset plan. So when you approach a new role, it’s normal to feel a lot of feelings. You could feel excited under pressure. Stress have anxiety and this is your body indicating to you that you are making a change and so you have excitement for what’s to come. And the pressure, stress or anxiety can be coming from fear of failure, worrying what other people might think, not wanting to make a mistake, and so on. So it’s always a good idea to allow your thoughts and emotions to exist. I know we get really comfortable with just shoving them down and turning them away or pouring a glass of wine or watching Netflix or going out to dinner and just like trying to hope they go away by the morning. But that’s only going to hurt you in the long run. So I want you to process and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings because when you try to shut them down, they’re going to come out in ways that you don’t expect and they’re going to be projected at others.

So when you start your new role, think about why you were hired. These are the things that are going to go into your kind of mindset plan. Why were you hired? What are the things you bring to the table? What do you think your priorities are? What are the challenges you anticipate and how will you solve for them? What beliefs will help you feel confident? What stresses you out? How can you proactively solve for those things that you anticipate are going to be stressful for you? Think about these things ahead of time and then revisit them. Once you get started, you can get overwhelmed and focus on all of your Todos. You may be too busy to really think and process. Your calendar is going to be filled with meetings, so build that time in to check in with yourself to ensure that you are maintaining integrity with yourself and allowing yourself to be who you are and who you wanted to be. Going into this role in a new work environment, you can easily start comparing yourself or try to adapt to other ways of working from what you see your new peers or leaders.

Doing mindset work can also be done through meditation. So taking time to work on your stress relief and anxiety by incorporating a meditative practice is also helpful. But the goal of your mindset plan is for you to be clear on your thoughts and feelings and to acknowledge and process them because they 100% impact the decisions that you make, how you feel about yourself, and the behavior that you exhibit. So build time into your schedule to check in. Your wellbeing and your brain are your most important asset, and it’s important to integrate that into your onboarding plan. So that is the first internal strategy, a mindset plan. You’re just going to take some time to consider how you think, how you feel to build in time, to check in periodically, to proactively think of problems that may come up to work on your beliefs around your capabilities and your confidence. You want to work on this ahead of time and dedicate time for it because it’s going to help you be more effective and productive in the workplace, not just in the first 90 days, but for the trajectory of your career. Okay? Now the second internal strategy is your growth plan.

So think about with this position, what you want to accomplish within it. What do you want it to contribute to in the overall picture of your career? What do you want to learn? What do you want to get from this role? Where have you struggled before when starting a new job, and how can you accommodate for that? Now, for example, if you’ve made the mistake of keeping your head down and focusing on the training and need to do and meet and greets and you didn’t spend as much time as you’d like building relationships or getting to know your team, what can you do in this role to build those activities sooner? If you struggle with speaking up in the beginning because you want to feel things out right? A lot of people want to do that. They want to see kind of how other people speak, what’s acceptable, how much information they give. Take this opportunity to consider speaking up sooner and more often to position yourself as the leader that you want to be. When you get into the day to day activities, the bigger objective of your growth and why you’re in this role may be lost.

So keep the big picture in mind. So when you’re making your growth plan, you don’t want to just think about the necessary required. Sop reading and training plan that’s assigned to you through your learning management system. You want to think about where this role fits within your career and the growth you want to have personally and professionally, and to make sure that that doesn’t get lost in the shuffle with all of the various competing priorities that you’ll have on your plate. And now the third and final internal strategy is your life plan. I always suggest deciding what you want your work life to look like at the beginning of a new role. Don’t wait until you are working 60 hours a week to decide you need boundaries. When you start off, behaving the way that you want your life to look and being consistent with those decisions. They will become your norm and something that you won’t have to fix later. There will be exceptions for audits or other critical activities, but decide now how many hours you want to work. When do you want work to end? Do you want to be available during off hours, as in checking your email or phone?

It’s up to you to manage what you want your work life to look like. Your new boss or stakeholders are not going to manage your workload. Check in and see if you have too much on your plate. You’re likely working with multiple stakeholders who don’t know what is even on your plate from other people. So decide ahead of time and then implement your decision. This way you will always have the work life balance that you want. All right, now let’s talk about three external strategies, so we’re going to pivot to external. Those were the three internal strategies, which are more to do with you. The external are your outward facing strategies. So the first is your impact plan. When you start a new role, you are hired to fill a gap to demonstrate your value early on and create some instant confidence and motivation. Look for the ways that you want to impact your team, your Department, and the company early on. What are some early wins, some low hanging fruit, some things that you can do quickly that you can go in and solve right away. It doesn’t have to be something big, but look for something meaningful.

It could be your direct team’s engagement, making the process more efficient, finding ways to save money Improving relationships between your team and other stakeholders or sites. Create some metrics that you’ll use for yourself. Use any company metrics you can find. Being able to articulate the value you create is very important, so having numbers and data will go a long way as you talk about what you’ve achieved and articulate that to your peers and your management and your leaders. I also suggest identifying the impact you want to make long term as well. This will help you prioritize your activities as you take action those 1st 90 days. You can do this through relationships, which is the next strategy that I’m going to talk about. So your impact plan is really what is the impact you want to have in this new role and what are the quick wins you can have to demonstrate that impact early on? Now, your relationship plan relationships are key to your success. One of the best strategies I used when starting my last corporate role was to go outside of who my boss told me to talk to. I was reporting to a member of the senior leadership team when I started, and they provided me with a lot of great insight and people to meet with.

They were, however, coming from the perspective of me, getting to know and build relationships with each of the other senior leaders. And I did that. But I also started asking other people who they thought I should talk to. With each meeting I had, I asked, who else do you think would be important for me to know? And it really created a Spider web effect. I ended up getting really good insight into what the pain points were at all levels and what would have the biggest impact for my group to work on. I used that information to create a proposal for change to my senior leadership. Now this was a win win. I was seen as credible and earned the respect of not only the leadership team, but the lower levels of the organization, the heart of the organization. I was immediately identified as someone who stood out, was different and was going to create lasting change. Now I use this strategy with my clients as well, and they always see success identify who the key people are that you want to build relationships with and then dig deeper. The more people that know you, the more people will be willing to help you.

And then when you follow through on what you say, you build trust and will have people willing to work for you and help you go farther in the long run, your reputation will precede you. You will get more opportunities. I could really talk about this all day, but I will point you in a couple of directions that offer more detail on this. One is an episode about starting the new leadership role that I talked about earlier. And the other is the episode with John Mason, who is a talent leader with Takata Pharmaceuticals. So he gave an idea for how to identify the key stakeholders and use your network to build your career. So I will link to both of those episodes as well. All right. Now the third external strategy for your 1st 90 days is your team plan, and I’m calling this one out separately from relationships. If you are a leader of direct reports on paper or through a matrix, it is critical to set the foundation with your team early on. They need to know what to expect from you, if they can trust you, how you will help them, and if you are worth sticking around for.

Yes, some people are going to look to you to decide if they want to stay in their current job or not. They may have a lot of feelings about their prior manager you represent change and uncertainty. Will you change everything they know? Will you see their value? These are the questions that they’re going to have, but will likely never ask you. So when you start, they’re going to look at how quickly you set up time with them. If you structure one on one, if your one on one time is about you or about them. If you have direction for them, trust takes time to build so they will be reserved. At first they’re going to want to feel you out. Now this may also be how you approach your new manager, right? Because you’re also reporting to a new manager in this new role. Now the difference is you choose to work for your new manager. You chose this new role, you accepted the position and often times the people in your reporting structure didn’t choose to report to you. I don’t mean to make it sound so cloudy, but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you make your team a priority.

You can be hit with multiple priorities, a lot of meet and greet, meetings, leaders and peers that are trying to impress you, that you are trying to impress and it can all be really difficult to work in and make enough time for everyone. But go into your new role with your team in mind. Think about what they need, what kind of leader you want to be? What do you want your first impression to be with them? How will you know what is working and what isn’t working with them? If they’re receiving your messages properly, how will they know what to expect of you? What will your first meeting look like? What will team meetings look like? What feeling do you want your team to have about you? If you aren’t sure where to start, listen to my episode The Perfect One on One Framework and download the guide that goes with it. I give you specifics on how to run your first meeting, your regular one on one, and how to measure engagement with your team proactively. I give you the exact agenda items that you can use so that you can be set up for success.

So let’s recap in your 1st 90 days. Look at your onboarding from an internal and external perspective. Internally you’ll make a mindset plan, a growth plan and a life plan. These are the things that are for you that will help you prevent stress and burnout, enjoy your work and continue to grow in your career. Externally, make an impact plan, relationship plan and team plan. This will ensure you have early success. Build the foundation for high performance early on, not to mention being able to influence more effectively from the get go and have a team of engaged high performers. You already know how to meet deadlines to do your training and the nuts and bolts of your expertise. This framework helps you prioritize the things that are going to help you use your expertise to set an exceptional foundation to make a big impact. Stand out as a leader regardless of level and enjoy your new role without the stress. And remember, if you’re listening and you aren’t starting a new role right now, you can still use these strategies today with the role you already have it’s never too late to make a change. Have an amazing week.

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Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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