Your first six months on the job are critical to your success in a new business and to setting the benchmark for how people view you. We have seen probation periods gradually increase from three to six months across the market to reflect this and to give people chance to make an impact. There’s no need to worry about this though – just remember to bring your best professional self to work and remember to focus on the below things.
Remember what you are famous for and your purpose
What was your elevator pitch when you were interviewing? What were you hired to do? What is the purpose of your new role? Not only will remembering this keep you focused on the activities which forward your goal, it prepares you for those conversations genuinely in the elevator / kitchen / corridor. You never know when the opportunity will come to speak to that senior Partner and you must be able to naturally and quickly explain the purpose of your role, what you are working on, how it fits into the broader business objectives and the value.
Invest in relationships and be visible
Make sure you get up from your desk and move around the office; don’t hide behind e-mail when you could pop over to see someone. It’s the best way to build relationships with your team and Partners.Success comes from collaboration and you are only as good as the team around you. Whether you are a Director/Manager with a team reporting in, or more junior in your career with peers / seniors around you, invest the time in getting to know the people you work with. What motivates them, what are they good at and able to offer, how do they like to work, who are they as people outside of work, who do you really want to learn from? Time invested upfront will pay off down the track.
Understand the culture and politics; but don’t take on the baggage
You should have got a jump start on the culture in the interview process, it’s probably part of the reason you joined. But until you’re in a business you can’t truly understand it.Invest the time to truly understand the culture and political environment; ask questions, listen and observe. However, don’t get pulled into the baggage. An example, treat each new Partner you meet as a fresh start – someone another BD person finds more challenging to engage, may not be for you and you don’t want to be encumbered by this when starting your relationship.
Communicate and ask questions
Ensure you are communicating with everyone to keep them updated on your projects and objectives. They don’t know and trust you yet – keep anxiety levels down by ensuring everyone is kept pro-actively up to date with what’s happening; don’t wait for people to ask.When you’re new, you can meet anyone and ask anything. Take advantage. Learn as much as you can. But also ask questions which demonstrate a fresh perspective to the business and get people thinking. Set the groundwork here – if you’ve been hired to make change, listen and engage first.
Ask for feedback
We recently spoke to a Director of BD who said, “if a team member is not self-aware, they’re doomed”. Strong words but true. You must be self-aware to ask for and take on feedback and then demonstrate development. The best professionals never stop doing this whatever level they reach in their career.Ensure you understand how your performance will be measured. If expectations aren’t clear, take ownership of this and propose them in your 100 day plan when you arrive.Observe others around you – it’s easy to spot the high performers; how do they operate and what behaviours or engagement / communication tactics are valued and well received?
Stay positive and maintain energy
You will never be more motivated in a job than your first six months. It’s also an intense time where you are under pressure and sometimes putting more hours in to get to grips with the role and new business.Be sure you don’t burn out – exercise, eat healthily, be strict with switching off.
Set the right expectations around hours and the way you work
The working style you bring in your first six months will be what you train people to expect from you. If you need and enjoy flexible working (which will have been discussed at interview as most firms we work with now support this), then work this way from the start. Demonstrate how it works while maintaining flexibility and giving confidence in your delivery.
And keep in touch with us! We are always here to offer an objective ear and enjoy hearing how you are progressing.
Contact us if you’d like to have that chat!