Sixty Days to a More Effective Job Performance
Day 1, Find your desk, setting up your office and beginning finding your way around the organization
It is your first day on your new job. What do you do? How are you going to be productive from the first day? What are others going to think about you? How are they going to react to a new person on the block? What personalities exit?
Welcome to a series of discussions that will help you to establish a more effective integration into your new position, or any other endeavor for that matter! This first article will set the stage for future and other articles will provide insights from our experiences about actions and ideas you might want to consider in those crucial first several months.
This may sound obvious, but your first day is pretty critical, as times are tough and sometimes hiring managers do not always know exactly what they want in a professional. They know what they have been told. Whether you are new to the organization or you were simply moved down the hallway, there’s still much to do. Congratulations on your first day in your new job or promotion it will be extremely busy. You may have to start repairing some damage done by your predecessor, build on past solid foundations, or if you did not have a predecessor, start immediately doing the wide range of tasks that you said that could you could to do during the interview process. This is where the “Rubber meets the Road.”
What Out for the Activity Trap!
If you do not have an established flow of for your process, you can get caught up in the “activity trap. This trap will prevent you from doing your assigned task and cause you to do a lot of things and accomplishing little towards your states goals and objectives. The trap is that you are new and want to make a quick and solid impression, showing you have got what it takes to get the job done. There is no problem with that, except you may miss a few things that are critical to the operation. For starters, you need to keep thinking in terms of process and not program. For example, you may ask the question, What can I do to establish a process that gets the mission done, not just specific tasks. We tend to think that many activities make us effective. Not so says George Leonard, a leading author on personal development. If you have not done so, read his book, “Mastery.” This is an essential text book for your bookshelf and provides many insights you can use.
Manager’s Mandates and Direction
As soon as possible visit or revisit with your direct manager your goals and objectives. It is essential to reconfirm and define your mission and current objectives that are considered important to the management staff. This will allow you to confirm your job duties, responsibilities, and authority that you will be measured on. You will soon find out if your objectives are same as you expected. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of your mission. An organization may give you lead time to get started. Others expect you to hit the ground running. Nathan, the co-author had a friend who was called out of his human resources new hire orientation, on the first day, in the first hour, to give a brief overview to a client on how he could help them! (He did a great job by the way). Be prepared for that possibility! You are now employed and anything could happen.”Murphy” could move into your office with you and as Dave Ramsey, radio host, states you do not want living with you.
The Administrative Staff
Get acquainted with the Office Administrative Staff. Find out who does what and for whom. This support group knows the personalities of everyone that they work with and how things work, who works and has the real authority. Never demean the admin staff! They can be your best friend when you really need it. I remember interviewing for a job many years back. The receptionist in the front lobby helped me to learn more about the hiring manager and other individuals that I was interviewing with. I just struck up a conversation and was nice to her. After getting hire, she was one of my best resources.
On the other hand, if you inherit a staff, take the time to listen to what they have to say. You can get in discussions with the on what they are doing, what things have been working or not working. Do not immediately start condemning the past. You will have time for that later, after new systems are working properly. What you were told in the interview and what really is happening may or probably will be different.
Why Were You Hired For This Position?
If you do not already know, you may what to find out what happen to the last person in the position. One piece of advice! Move at a cautious pace, it may not be right timing. In most cases, if you just get to know people, you will soon figure out what happen. Once you find this information, this will provide you some indicator as to what you might expect if management has remained the same. Begin to gather the real history of your position and the process. What you were told and what the inside story is may be different. Again, if you do not know, find out about any past program failures or successes. This is where you team can help out.
The next step is to understand the computers and software available. Check on electronic filing systems, backups, what do you have available to you. Then check on classes to get yourself up to speed on programs used by the organization that you may not be familiar with. You probably already the basic software packages, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Learn what the rules about internet access. This is important, as some companies have some strict rules on what can do and what you can not do. For example, most companies do not want you look at YouTube. In today’s world, the internet can be your friend, so you need to be doing a lot of ongoing research if the sites that you will be using are restricted. The bottom line: just make sure that you understand the rules of internet access. Also ask about existing online services that might be already in use.
Your Professional Image
As you move through various areas of the organization and meet people you will be judged by how you dress, act, talk, and respond to questions. This initial conversation has set the stage to form your image of how people perceive you and interact with you. This first day will, in many respects, set much of the tone for the rest of your time with the organization. It is called having a command presence. Be aware of the image that you portray to management and employees.
As you walk around, observe the business attire. I would hope that the new organization will tell you what the attire is for the position. You can get some hint during the job interview.
The next most important thing for you is to show up on time and looking professional and well groomed. This may sound trite but many people entering the workplace have not learned the basics of developing a professional image. Do not look like you just got up and dragged your clothes out of a laundry bag. Remember, you are now part of the management team, possibility in a leadership role and need to sell ideas to management and employees. Leave the frat house, high school, and beach house, whatever behind!
The first image people have of you will stay a long time. Remember the old saying: First impressions are lasting impressions. Nathan, my co-author, recounts a time when he showed up for meetings and to his horror his pen had leaked well across his shirt. You can rest assure that you will hear about it later, in jest but that was the image, the guy with the ink stain. On my first day of work I have a similar situation. I was invited to an off site meeting. When I left to get into my car, I had a flat tire. Needless to say, I was late for the meeting. Luckily, every thing worked out fine, but could have been a problem. These examples illustrate that, as I said before, “Murphy” has a way of moving in when you least expect it.
The Bottom Line
Be on time, have a professional image, be prepared to immediately do what you were hired to do, be friendly, courteous, organized and ready to help.