Whether you’re new to the role of manager or you’re an experienced manager starting in a new team, your first hundred days count more than you may realise. You’re on trial, you’re being watched, and you’re being tested. It’s a critical time when you have to prove your worth and that they were right to appoint you. In order to lay the best foundations for a successful stint in your new role, it’s worth considering the following:
1. Understand the company and your objectives
Whatever you do, you will never succeed if you don’t clearly identify what your company’s annual objectives are and how your targets contribute towards them. Ensure that when you establish targets or objectives with your boss, they are SMARTER (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound, and are evaluated and then re-evaluated). Once you have these, you will understand what is required of you as a manager. This ensures that you’re able to focus your efforts on what’s really important.
2. Create a plan to meet the objectives
You now need to prepare a plan to meet these objectives. This process will need to be repeated later, as you still won’t have a good understanding of the capabilities and experience of the team you’ve inherited. As a first step, imagine that your team is competent and prepare a plan based on that. You’ll also need to include contingency plans, considering the risks and how to avoid them.
3. Evaluate current resources and capabilities
Next, take an objective look at your team. Are your people all great performers (or have the potential to be so)? To do this well you need to establish trust and openness quickly. This means investing time in getting to know your team well.
4. Make changes
When you’ve made your evaluation, you’ll be able to draw some conclusions. There may be people who need promoting, or who require new challenges. Try to put this in place as soon as you can. Others may be doing what they’re best at already. They will need re-assuring. Some people, however, may not be right for what your team needs to achieve. If this is the case, you will need to speak to the appropriate people (perhaps your HR department) about how to dismiss them. You’ll also need to recruit quickly, so you will need to make this a priority, too.
In your first hundred days as a manager, communication, as ever, is key. Tell your team what your objectives are. Your people need to understand how they relate to the company’s objectives. Share what meeting these objectives means to your team and give people a sense of how you’re going to go about it. It’s also critical that you understand their concerns, worries, ideas and dreams. So, elicit these as well as you can.
When you’ve established the right team and you witness that they are working well towards meeting their objectives, you need to praise them. All team members, no matter how experienced they are, need encouragement. Identify what they’re doing well, and tell them. Whether you tell them individually, privately, or publically in a team meeting, you need to ensure that they feel valued.
7. The only way is up?
It’s worth remembering that management works up as well as down. You need to manage your team and you need to manage your boss. Try to establish regular reviews with him/her. Agree milestones for your objectives and demonstrate that you are always ahead of schedule and beating your targets. Your boss should be made to feel re-assured that s/he made the right choice in appointing you, so make it easy for to see that that’s the case.
At the end of your first hundred days, reflect on what you set out to achieve and what you have actually achieved. Share this with your team and your boss, and celebrate. After all, this is only the first part of your glittering career!
Heather Foley is a consultant at ETSplc.com, a bespoke provider of HR solutions.
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