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6 September 2021


Because preparation is everything

Congratulations, you just landed that big new role that you always wanted! Now, what are you going to do to make a success of it (and calm your nerves a little in the process)?

Like many things in life, success comes from some decent planning. So, my tips regarding what to think about before you start your new role, are:

1.  Consider what success will look like in the role for you and the organisation in one, two and three years. How will you know when you have achieved it? You will probably have had to explain this in the process of getting the job, but the focus was probably more on what success looked like for the organisation than for you. Make sure you know what you want from the role as well.

2.  What induction/onboarding do you need, who do you need to meet, what do you need to see? The more senior you get, the more you will need to shape what is included in your induction, based on what you think you need to know more about to achieve the success identified above.

3.  Who are your key stakeholders, what do they need from you? Also, what do you need from them and how are you going to get to know them? 

4.  Think about who you need to help you make a success of the role, (this is a stakeholder sub-group from point 3, above). A great exercise for this is in identifying your Personal Boardroom, a small group of people who, through the information they hold, the power they have, or their ability to help you develop, can speed you on your path to success (see What is a Personal Boardroom?).

5.  Whether it’s a new organisation or a promotion, the culture may be different to that you are leaving. What do you need to know about the new culture and what do you need to do to fit in to achieve your goals?

6.  What do you need to do to transition to the new role, what do you need to stop doing? If you are moving from a managerial role to more of a leadership position, what does that mean regarding a shift in operational versus strategic thinking and how are you going to stop yourself from getting dragged into operational challenges, particularly if that’s your comfort zone, and spend more time thinking big picture? See my separate blog post on this.

A great book on what you may need to stop doing is What got you here, won’t get you there, how successful people become even more successful by Marshall Goldsmith, which identifies 20 habits that stand in the way of achieving the next level. See if you recognise yourself in any of the habits and, if you do, what are you going to do about it? The more senior you get, the more the balance tips towards the importance of how you do things versus what things you do.

7.  Think about what your strengths and development areas are concerning the new role. How are you going to play to your strengths and what do you need to do about your development areas?

8.  A new role in a new organisation is a great opportunity to re-position yourself, so think about who you want to be as a leader and what you want to be known for. Then ask yourself, am I living up to my leadership brand, if not what do I need to do? 

9.  Go shopping for some new clothes. New outfit day one. 😊

There is quite a lot to think about here and a lot of self-reflection. If you don’t spend the time doing the thinking, the chances are you will step up and into a more senior role still delivering a more junior one.

This is coaching’s heartland; a safe space to explore who you are, where you are, where you are going, what you need to do to get there and what’s going to hold you back if you don’t address it. It’s certainly worth investing some time with a business coach to help shape this thinking and get off to the best start in your new role.

As always, if you have any questions or comments on this blog or on coaching generally, it would be great to hear from you

From the author:

As coaching is not an advice-giving service, these blogs are not written with the intention of proposing solutions to common leadership challenges. Instead, they are thought pieces with the aim of prompting the reader to think more deeply about the topic and reflect on whether it warrants further exploration, with or without a coach.

If you would like to hear more about coaching and how to make it work for you, feel free to subscribe to my newsletter and to share this blog with anyone that might be interested in learning about executive coaching, how it works and whether it could be of benefit to them.