Moving forward: 100 days to make or break

For starters you should learn as much as you can about procedures –
conformity may be boring, but it keeps you out of trouble in your first few
weeks. Don’t be caught napping by a sudden report deadline.

It’s important to spot the people who can make your job easier, and the ones
who can make your life hell. Identify future allies – key people in IT and HR,
for example. Find out how their concerns impact on yours. Get to know the
information brokers – the people who know who does what, and where the bodies
are buried.

Be careful if you’re tempted to suggest new ideas and working methods at this
stage. Try not to criticise the way the job is already done – you may be
trampling on pet projects.

Make tentative suggestions – share methods you have used before, rather than
telling people how things should be done.

Don’t rely just on your day one grand tour to meet new people.

Sit next to new colleagues every day at lunch. Seize opportunities to visit
other departments or branches. When introduced to new colleagues don’t just
smile and nod – show interest in their jobs and problems, and show you are
impressed by what they do.

Ask open questions about the way you can support what they do – and expect to
hear some challenging replies.

Ensure that you don’t make too many promises at this stage, however, because
you probably have no idea how many you can deliver.

What is the biggest impact you can achieve in the shortest time, with the
minimum of effort and resources? Try to implement two or three changes that are
low on cost and high on imagination.

But don’t forget to give praise and credit to the person who gave you the
idea. And make sure you follow up – don’t be a one-hit wonder.

The next step, once you start to become established, is a matter of
identifying an area of work that is becoming a strategic focus for the
organisation. To do this you need to be tuned in to the overriding needs of the

Offering results that tie into the issues which are top of the agenda at the
highest level quickly gets you noticed by your peers and management.

John Lees is a career coach and author of How To
Get A Job You’ll Love (McGraw-Hill)

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