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Your First 90 Days : Find the True North of Success


​You recently accepted a new offer of employment and you are really excited to join the new organization. When embarking upon any new career start or transition journey, there are bound to be some speed bumps along the way. When those detours threaten to derail your progress, who better to turn to than the men and women who have already reached their long-term goals? Below, discover 10 insider tips and recommendations for setting goals and staying motivated, all from people who have successfully manage their career transition.


Start by taking a short vacation, Relax and be ready to be at your best

Like it or not, on your first day, all eyes are on you.  On a day when everything else seems foreign, you’ll want to feel prepared and be at your best.  So take some time to reflect and to prepare. Negotiate a starting date that allows you to spend at least one week in a place when you can spend some quality time. You need to set yourself for a smooth and strategic transition. The success of your career depends on it. 

The first few months into your new position are critical for success. 


Kick START with an X-Ray analysis of the business
The first few weeks will really provide you with an opportunity to understand the fabric and culture of the organization. Every organization does things in a certain way and it is important that you decipher the organizational code! What are the ways of the organization? What is the common language of business? 

You will certainly have a lot of questions and that is totally OK! Now remember it is all about learning and identifying best approach to build your credibility and reputation internally.  Even if your company provides new-hire documents and some  training material, getting started on the right path is not an easy task. My recommendation gained from teaching the career management seminar at the Harvard Business School of New York for several years  is to start with an “X-Ray” analysis to maximize your learning experience.  You need to prioritize you first two to three-months learning objectives. 

For example, for many software sales executives it is critical to learn rapidly product characteristics and functionalities. 

  • What differentiate the company product offering from the competition?
  • How can you articulate the company value proposition? 
  • What are the strategic goals of the company? 
  • At the same time, it is important to learn the unwritten rules of an organization?
  • Who are the critical employees who will help you to get started rapidly?
  • Please don’t be afraid to ask questions. 


Observe and gather data before you speak.  The first few weeks are all about information gathering.   

Ask your colleagues what are the known best practices in the organization? Is there a story of someone who joined and did remarkably well? You need to learn rapidly the internal rules of success.  You want to quickly develop your definition of what success looks like in the organization. Be open and verify your assumptions with your colleagues to gain internal validation.

Build your internal alliance & support team


Nowadays many companies will assign you to a mentor and develop a more formal transition plan. This is obviously very important and part of a more formal human resources planning process.  However it is also important to build rapidly a small group of “experts” who can provide you with direct feedback and direction when needed. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and invite them for a cup of coffee. Ask them for their support. You will always benefit from a grace period so to speak. 

However a thoughtful and well planned start is always helpful. Find some of the culture carriers who have been with the company for a long time and are still very much engaged and respected. Ask them openly for their advice on the definition of success.


Focus on the task at hand

Remember you have been hired to solve a specific problem or to execute a specific set of objectives. So my advice to you is to focus quickly on providing value back to the company and your team.  “Make your boss look good”.  Identify opportunities for quick wins that will allow you to score some points on the board!

Ask yourself: What are some low hanging fruits in the business where you can quickly maximize the point of impact you can have in the organization?  Work as a consultant so to speak and leverage the knowledge of your colleagues. 

Talk with some of your teammates and ask them what are some of the organizational gaps that requires some managerial attention? It could be some clients who have been ignored for some time. Develop a plan of actions over a 4 to 8 weeks time frame.  Remember we are talking about quick wins.   So ignore projects that will require a longer period of time to create some visible and immediate impacts. The objective is to gain rapidly internal credibility.


Develop a One Year Road Map and follow your Plan.

There is a clear difference between the definition of your day-to-day success and your long term strategic goals. Tactical wins are always important but  it is also critical to look at broader and long term impact in an organization. Discuss with your boss what are the important projects that really need to be tackled. Pick up one and stick to it. Set up clear expectations and a process to measure progress. This part is also important as what does not get measured does not get recognized.  Every month or so have a one one one session with your boss to evaluate progress made and what need to be

Adapt to your company culture

Leverage what you have learned in your “X-ray” business analysis and let your strategy be inspired by the foundation of your company culture. Understanding the corporate dynamics and how people achieve success within the company is obviously key. Summarize what you have learned about the culture, your boss’ specific needs, and your team’s priorities. Corporations seek employees with high learning adaptability willing to learn new skills and new ways to get things done.   Do not underestimate the importance of the corporate culture.  Focus in a pragmatic fashion on what works in your new environment.  

Also notice the differences between how things were done at your previous position and how things are operated at your new company.  The important point is to forget the past and focus on the now and what works in your new environment. What are the informal communication channels? Are executives responding immediately to your emails? 

Create your own advisory Board and  Check in with your team how you are doing.

The first few weeks are always tough. You are always being assessed and it is terrifying. You often don’t have all the answers and you don’t always know the rules of engagement!  So by creating a small support team of executives you trust is always helpful. You can assess your progress and ask suggestions. 

Career progression is a non-linear process and getting the right support group is always important. 

This will be your informal support group. You can ask any questions and find ways to make sense in unsecured times.   The more senior your position the less of a grace period you receive.  It is also lonely at the top. So getting your own support team to advice you and provide you words of encouragement and wisdom is no luxury.

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Patrick DELHOUGNE © 2017  |  All Rights Reserved

5580 Westside Drive El Paso TX 79932 US              +1-917-817-4026            patrick.delhougne@populuscapital.com 

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