In mid-January, LinkedIn’s Amy Chen asked the columnists to answer a question: “What’s your best tip for navigating the #First90 days on the job?” First, you may be wondering, why 90 days? Because that’s a standard business quarter. Your superiors and coworkers will decide they have you figured out by then (even if they haven’t). This means you’d best impress them quickly; because as the cliché goes, you never have a second chance to make a first impression. People are wired to assess others rapidly, so how you act and what you accomplish in your first weeks will establish their opinion of you, and that can be very difficult to change later.
As much as you can and is made available, study your job requirements well before your first day, and be ready to jump in on the first day. Be friendly with your new coworkers and work to understand the office’s social network. If people like you, they’ll forgive a lot.
When asked to do something you’ve never done before, always show you’re willing to give it a shot, even if you’ve never done it before. If you are light on workload at first, enjoy it, because it won’t last long! If you finish your work early, proactively read about the company, learn another aspect of your job you haven’t already mastered, or ask for a new project.
Keep a notebook with you and jot down anything new. Learn who does what and connect with the people who can help you do your job better. Invite key team members and contacts from other departments to lunch and find out their perspectives on how you can best contribute. Try not to lunch alone for the first few months of your job and budget for it.
Last, it may be your nature to come on strong and work aggressively, but at first, I’d recommend you start a little slower than you might (though not actually slowly). Take time to ask questions and get to know the team and the culture. Don’t come in and start throwing your weight around, trying to make sweeping changes. Be bright-eyed and bushytailed, but not too eager to please. Demonstrating a professional, positive, “can-do” attitude will take you far in your first 90 days.
© 2015 Laura Stack. Laura Stack, MBA, is America’s Premier Expert in Productivity™. For over 20 years, Laura has worked with business leaders to execute more efficiently, boost performance, and accelerate results in the workplace. Her company, The Productivity Pro, Inc., provides productivity workshops around the globe to help attendees achieve Maximum Results in Minimum Time®. Laura is the bestselling author of six books, with over 20 foreign editions, published by Random House, Wiley, and Berrett-Koehler, including her newest work, Execution IS the Strategy (March 2014). Widely regarded as one of the leading experts in the field of performance and workplace issues, Laura has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. Connect via her website, Facebook, or Twitter.