Congratulations! You made it past your first 90 days at your new job. Hopefully, it went smooth and now you can focus on building your tenure into something great. Even if your first 90 days was a little rocky, you can still turn it around into something positive. Your first 90 days was a time of acclimation, learning and fighting the jitters. Beyond your first 90 days there is still a lot to learn but now it’s more about performing and contributing.
What Worked, What Didn’t
The best thing to do after your first 90 days is to do a self-assessment. Your first 90 days plan should be reviewed. This review needs to be an honest dialog as to what worked and what didn’t. By doing this, you will understand how well you are assimilating into the culture and how hard/easy it is to get things done. If you have a good rapport with your new boss (which I hope you do), then sit down with her and review how she perceives your performance. You should have a pretty good idea from your one-on-one’s but a focused meeting might be a better venue to dig a little deeper.
Once you understand how you did, create an action plan for the next 90 days on how you will maintain and improve. This method of evaluating your performance every 90 days is a great way to think about your tenure. Ninety day increments are long enough to get meaningful work done, yet short enough to remember what you did. Make this part of your one-on-one. Doing this will allow you to focus on what’s important and have check in points more often than your annual review.
Tip: Create a 90 day plan for yourself. Review the plan with your boss to ensure that you are working on the right tasks
Taking on More Responsibility
As your grow into your new job, it’s natural to want to get more involved with how the company is run. This may lead you down the management path or a more senior contributor role. To achieve your desired goals, you should slowly take on more responsibility. Displaying the aptitude for taking on challenging tasks and performing them shows your new company that you are a valuable employee that has growth potential. Responsibility may not mean directly managing people but may mean being the lead on a project or just going solo on a special project. More responsibility does come with more accountability so make sure you are ready for the challenge when you step up.
Tip: Perform your assigned tasks well and on schedule. This will naturally lead to more responsibly. Be self-aware as to what you can safely handle while still making your commitments.
Building Stronger Bonds
Your coworkers, bosses and senior management are an important part of being successful. These people will be the ones that you interact with daily, work with to solve problems and will be asked to assess you. Through the long hours of working and problem solving, you will naturally build professional and personal bonds with people. These bonds will shape your working experience. Building strong bonds early will ensure that you will be successful. Strive to get to know people at both a personal and professional level. Take an interest in what they do and learn how their function contributes to the overall success of the company. Be willing to help out when able so that you are a problem solver and a team player instead of a selfish silo. Doing these things will naturally lead to building co-worker bonds.
In some companies, it can be difficult to build bonds with senior management since you may not interact with them on a daily basis. It’s vital to have your bosses boss at least know who you are and what you do. Look for opportunities to present your high quality work to senior management. These opportunities are how you demonstrate your ability while also getting to know how senior management thinks.
Tip: Be curious about what others do so that you understand how everyone fits into the company. Get to know your co-workers at a personal level.
Success at a company has many variables. One essential variable is becoming the go to person when things need to get done. This is part of becoming indispensable. Getting to this stage requires a deep understanding of your companies culture and needs. It’s also important that you get things done and project a “can do” attitude. Indispensable people are the ones that get pulled into discussions or projects where their expertise can be used to rapidly and effectively solve problems. Look for opportunities to prove yourself in high profile situations where your actions directly affect the company. Strive to help out where you can but also remember that delivering on your commits is what management wants you to do. Remember that being indispensable does not mean not replaceable — so being a team player is certainly part of becoming indispensable.
Tip: Find a project or task that gives you the visibility to show that you are indispensable. Strive to always meet commitments and be the go to person for difficult tasks.
Setting the Stage For Promotion
There are several rules of thumb about promotion. One says “do the job, get the job” while others may dictate “you can learn as you go.” In order to get promoted, you need to figure out how your company promotes people. This varies from company to company and boss to boss. One universal promotion truth is that you need to have someone who can take on your old job ready, willing and eager. It’s important that you mentor, train and coach others to do the job that you are presently doing. The reason is simple. When you leave, someone has to take over and having a ready replacement gives management one less excuse to not promote you. It’s also a good practice to develop the people around you so that you again, become indispensable. People who deliver, promote Esprit de Corps, mentor, coach and train others are naturals for promotion. Plenty of companies promote their technical or creative staff just as readily and they look for the same things.
Tip: The best way to get promoted is to train your replacement.
The Journey Never Ends
Your tenure will be a constant revolving of these 90 day plans until you leave or run the place. Thinking in terms of 90 day increments will allow you to focus on what’s important but also allow you to show your boss the value you add at regular increments. This is vital because your yearly review is too infrequent and not a good tool to ensure that you are delivering to you and your bosses expectations. Ninety day plans are also a great way to set expectations so that you and your boss are aligned to what is important.
Tip: Make the 90 day plan a regular part of your career building toolkit.