Starting a new role – the Executive Onboarding preparation
Stepping into a new role is like opening a new book – you’ve read the intro, maybe some reviews, but can never know exactly what adventures you will encounter on the pages within.
The following is a straightforward six-step guide to mastering the onboarding preparation process.
1. Research. Before you even set foot in the office, take the time to understand your role and the organization. Analyze the job description, research similar roles, and identify the key skills required. Look at the company’s history, culture, and work environment. Understand its mission, vision, and core values to align your personal goals with the organization’s.
For example, we, at Pendl & Piswanger, make sure that during the selection process, potential new executive should gain an excellent understanding on the scope and desired outcomes of the role to ensure both candidate and the organization are in alignment regarding what is required from the future leader. This means that we prepare a guide to help the new leader understand the intangibles — who the decision-makers are, how decisions are made and cultural nuances that may not be immediately obvious such organizational vocabulary, unwritten norms.
2. Ask for the information you need. In case you are hired directly, make sure you have as much information as possible to understand cultural nuances, key players, potential challenges, and development areas even before Day One on the job.
Finding an onboarding coach can help you preparing your onboarding if the organization you’ll join is not prepared. Need support? Call us!
What we’ve found effective is when Executives are involved in critical meetings from the very beginning. Here are some questions you need to find the answers (ideally before starting) which will help you become effective faster:
- Where is the company going?
- How will it get there?
- What changes will need to be made?
- How will you influence and what’s expected from you?
3.Set Clear Objectives. Establish short and long-term goals. Short-term goals will help you navigate the initial weeks, while long-term goals will provide direction for your overall growth in the company. Remember that although you, as a senior executive, are hired based upon past experience, a lack of clear, agreed-upon expectations for performance in the new role is one of the biggest reasons to fail in a new leadership role. Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of assuming an individual’s high performance automatically translates into the ability to lead effectively within their specific culture (back to point 1).
4.Set your own KPIs. Set personal goals and milestones for the first few months. What do you want to learn about business and organization? Where do you see yourself in this new role? This helps you keep track of your growth, impact, and progress.
5. Learn the tools and technologies your role requires. If needed, take relevant courses, or seek mentorship to become proficient in their use.
6. Connect. Start building relationships. Reach out to your new team members, introduce yourself, and express your excitement about joining the team. Building relationships with your new colleagues will help you understand the dynamics of your team and the organization.
Within your first 3 months travel extensively to meet as many people as possible in the organization and external stakeholders (clients, partners, authorities, etc) which will help you build both internal and external relationships, particularly in a multinational or global role.
Actively listen to colleagues and resist the impulse to make decisions too quickly.
Make yourself visible to those in your area of accountability and establish two-way communication channels.
Connect with your immediate superior at least once per week during the first 3 months to align expectations and build rapport.
Finally, embrace change and don’t forget about self-care. Starting a new job can be stressful, but it’s also exciting. The quicker you adapt to your new environment, the quicker you will find success in your new role, but be kind to yourself and don’t rush the process.
Remember, preparation is key. Don’t wait for the onboarding process to begin. Start NOW.
This article is part of a series of article meant to support candidates in their career change process. To view the previous article, click here.
For reading the following article, click here.