The First 30 Days


Starting in a New Role…

A question that frequently comes up in the Coaching Hour calls in My Executive Mentoring Group is, “I’m starting a new job. What do you recommend that I do in the first 30 days to set myself up for success?”

In my own career, I developed a really effective set of actions and communications based on 3 lists (described below) that helped me to quickly establish my credibility, and to start building effective connections across the organization right away.

This approach is not only useful for when you are new to a role or a company — you can use this technique to give yourself a boost in effectiveness and credibility within your current job as well.

Create these three lists.

List #1. Opportunities and Issues as I see them

This is a list of top level things that you see the need to address in your role. Some of them will be things to fix, and others will be opportunities to go after.

Here’s an example of and Opportunities and Issues List for someone starting in an executive marketing role, specific to a particular company and situation.

  • We have a strong offer in two key growing marketing segments that we are not exploiting well enough
  • We are unknown in these segments. We have weak market perception
  • This is organizational chaos in Marketing (morale, spending, effectiveness)
  • The sales force feeling unsupported and un-motivated

That list would then lead to the next list: Desired Outcomes

List #2. Desired Outcomes

On this list you describe what the world would look like after a year of your making it better.

Here is where you can bring your external or fresh perspective and big picture thinking, which will establish your credibility right away.

For example this Desired Outcomes list could have things on it like:

  • Perception of our products goes from unknown to desirable and credible
  • We are spending money more effectively and can see budget tied to specific business outcomes
  • Morale and motivation of sales team is greatly improved
  • Industry analysts will reinforce our strategy
  • We will have reference customers that support our new strategy in each super region

List #3. Recommended Initiatives & Actions

I would then create a list of actions that I believed would drive progress to achieve these outcomes.

On this list I would have things like:

  • Resolve internal competing efforts on products and clarify product and service roadmap
  • Improve our sales enablement function (list top 3 ideas…)
  • Work with services organization to identify, secure and create reference customers in each region
  • Orchestrate interaction with analysts and reference customers to prove our strategy

Get Feedback

Then, here is how I would use these lists.

I would walk around and talk to everyone about the first 2 lists. I’d keep the third one at the ready for people who wanted a deeper discussion, but I shared the first 2 lists very broadly.

I would present these lists at management meetings for each function, team meetings, and 1-1 meetings with peers and executives and get their feedback.

I would ask, Do you agree with my assessment of the issues and opportunities?.
Do you agree that these are the right desired outcomes to be driving?

Do you agree that these are the right initiatives to achieve these outcomes?

This approach quickly let me establish myself in a very productive and credible way.

Quickly achieving impact, credibility and support

If I go back to the success model I describe in my book RISE of the three things necessary for a successful career, DO Better, LOOK Better, and CONNECT Better…

On the DO Better front:

It allowed me to zero in on the most important business outcomes. It helped me both create and prioritize the action plan to get there.

The feedback helped insure that I had selected the most valuable and highest impact things to work on.

On the LOOK Better front:

This process helped me build credibility quickly because I was “out there”.

I was having conversations with business stakeholders far and wide. I was establishing my presence. It gave me a chance to establish myself as a strategic leader that could see beyond the current situation.

Hint: driving an outcome-focused conversation always makes you appear more credible, than talking about things that are happening today.

On the CONNECT Better front:

Having these conversations based on these lists gave me a productive reason to connect with people.

And the outcome-focused perspective also put people in the mood to help me.

Because I was getting their feedback, they felt like they had a stake in what I was doing. and because it was a motivating outcome we were both now heading for, they would offer to help me.

I was able to build up a team of connections and support very quickly by sharing my thoughts on these lists, and asking people far and wide for their inputs and ultimately their help.

By the time I got 30 days in, I had a very solid plan that I then put into action.

This approach let me start putting points on the board quickly, to maintain and further grow the credibility I built initially with this approach.

Want some help?

If you’d like some more insights and support to fuel your own career, learn more about my Executive Mentoring Group.

I’d love to help.


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SOURCEAzzarello Group
Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She has more than 25+ years of experience working in high tech and business. She has held leadership roles in General Management, Marketing, Software Product Development and Sales. She has been successful in running and transforming large and small businesses, and has significant international management experience.