When onboarding into a new role yourself or bringing someone else in, you don’t have to follow an orderly or prescribed pattern of behavior. You can just jump in and hope for the best. You can drop your new employee into the deep end of the pool and see if they sink or swim. Others do. That’s part of why 40% of leaders fail in new jobs.
Taking a disciplined approach is not the answer to every problem. But it does reduce the risk of failure in new roles and help new leaders and their teams deliver better results faster. In particular, look hard at the prescribed patterns of behavior in three areas before you decide to wing it:
Get a head start
It’s always tempting to relax, rest up, and recharge before a new job. Doing some of this is certainly a good thing. There are things people can do before day one that can make a huge difference. Without regurgitating what we wrote in The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan and Onboarding, disciplining yourself or your new employee to craft a plan in advance, get set up, and have some pre-start conversations with the most important stakeholders can make a huge difference.
Manage the message
It’s equally tempting to follow Covey and “seek first to understand” before saying anything. The problem is that not saying anything speaks volumes. Everything communicates. This is why an essential part of crafting a plan in advance is taking a disciplined approach to crafting and delivering the message. You need to know your message in order to communicate it with what you say and do and don’t say and don’t do.
Help others deliver
One of the things people are crediting Yankee baseball team manager Joe Girardi with this year is taking a day off from spring training to take the whole team out for a billiards competition. He understand that building the team was as important as building the individual skills. Don’t skip this. Have the discipline to build the team over the first 100-days. Leaders aren’t leaders unless others are following. A leader’s purpose is to inspire and enable others to deliver.