Author: Chris Swan

What new executives often miss is how exceedingly high the expectations can be for success. When starting in a new position, particularly at a new company, there is tremendous opportunity to demonstrate to an entirely new group of people just how talented you are and prepared. These people will either be thrilled or less than thrilled, and your reputation hangs in in the balance. The risks are just as high for your company, and the organization wants you to succeed just as much as you do. However, the challenge is truly up to you.

One stumble in front of the wrong person and your tenure at the new company, where you have placed all your hopes and dreams, may be in jeopardy. Obviously, it is important to deliver results from the very first day. Yes, the first day is the day when you meet people for the first time and set the tone for the rest of your relationship with them.

Keep these five points in mind:

Share your story. The first thing you need to have ready is your story. Not your entire life’s story, but the salient factors that will be most relevant and compelling to the people you will meet. Practice your story and make it your own. Ensure that it delivers a positive, professional, and prepared message. One that reinforces that brilliant decision to hire you. 

Communicate with your stakeholders. The first step of communicating is listening; so listen intently. When you ask great questions, listening will be easy. Set time aside to get to know the people you work with on both a professional and personal level. Find something in your background that is a mutual interest, and try to share a specific memory or feeling. It doesn’t matter what it is, but make sure you share it in a thoughtful and meaningful way.

Exceed expectations. Companies and roles are all very different, so keep in mind stakeholders which include; your boss, the owners of the business, peers, subordinates, and possibly customers…everyone with whom you come in contact. Determine what their expectations are and reach beyond the position description or the initial problems you discussed in your interview. Set a proactive tone for your new company and hit the ground running.

Focus on the future.  Assume good things have happened in the past and that your predecessor made the best decisions they could with the information available. Many of your ideas may have been considered by someone else before, regardless of what you have been told. Believe in your ability to execute and find a proper solution. The point is to move forward. What happened in the past is data for you and history for the employees that were present then. Remember to take a keen interest in what has taken place in the past to help propel you forward.

Leverage the talents of others and focus on execution.  It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to figure out the strong skill-sets of others. Make their talents part of your initial communication. Listen to the answers, ask for examples and consider the context. Most of the time companies are looking for leaders to execute, and failures in execution often result from leaders not leveraging all their resources properly. Bring fresh eyes and a desire to leverage the talents that exist. Everything and anything that can help you achieve where others have failed is worth considering.

Remember that the clock is ticking from Day One and you only have a short period of time to integrate into your new organization, and set a standard for the future.