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 APICS Article

The First 90 Days 

By Carleen Wong, CPIM

Congratulations! You’ve finally landed the job you want. However, your journey is just beginning; how you manage the first 90 days in your new position can determine your path towards success or mark the beginning of inevitable demise.

Just like you had strategies for getting a new job, you need to have strategies for starting a new job. Good, well thought out plans will provide the foundation for your success. Here are some pointers for a smooth transition:

  • Get to know the culture - Remember you are entering a new company culture, and it can be very different from the one you came from. It’s all about fitting in and letting go of the nuances of the culture you came from. For example, you may have come from an environment of 60 hour work weeks and in your new company, the offices are empty by 5:30 pm. You need to go with the flow. Take the time to listen, absorb the new work environment, ask questions, and have an open mind.
  • Find out strategies and set goals - Sit down with your boss and find out how your job fits in with the overall mission and strategies of the company and department. Understand the top goals for the position and what to focus on. Set reasonable goals for the next 90 days. Try to “settle in” by breaking them down into smaller, manageable steps.
  • Identify your support network - Your first days on the job should mainly be devoted to getting to know the people who you rely upon and those who rely upon your position. Meet them one-on-one; find out how they work and communicate, and what’s important to them. Determine how you will continue to interact with them on a regular basis. Gain their trust and understand the information that will lead to teamwork and mutual success.
  • Be cautious - Be friendly, but not prematurely “best of friends.” This will serve you well until you get a better sense of who’s who. Be careful on making changes quickly. A common mistake for newcomers is trying to make a change that is less rooted in strategy than in a desire to make an early impression.

In the first days of your new position, your new colleagues will form their image of you. Early on, the way you want to be seen is within your control. It is o.k. to be a bit nervous and moderately anxious; but by using these tips and showing your confidence, you will have the edge for a successful first 90 days and beyond.

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Last updated: 02/10/2006