Hi All,

I would like some advice on what should be the initial tasks when entering a new job role. I am going to be joining a new company at a senior management level in IT.

The last person in this role is moving laterally into a new role after having been in this role for a number of years. I anticipate some passive/aggressive reactions from my new management team and from their prior boss.

To further complicate matters (as if I really needed more) is that the culture of the IT organization has become a 'lifestyle' company in that most of the organization has been complacent and casual about their jobs. Extreamly low turn over, combined with a soft/laid-back management style has been the norm for a while, and I have been brought in to re-energize/kick-start IT.

I have been reading the First 90 Days (as recommened by the MT book list) and it seems to cover this in a broad sense, and I have transitioned a number of times in my career, but I believe that this situation combines a number of elements I have not had to deal with simultaneously before. As such, I am looking for both tactical (initial & short term) and strategic (everything else) advice on how to approach this.


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge


Thanks for the question. You've really asked for more than I can answer in this way, but here are some thoughts:

1. 90 days is good. Spend some time with it, and think about what specific actions it implies. Do those.

2. The first rule of ALL transitions is FIT IN, FIT IN, FIT IN. I recommend John Lucht's book, Insights for the Journey. VERY good. I would encourage you to have a pure heart and reach out to everyone in good will, and make it a point to build relationships as we have suggested in other casts... reach out on a regular basis for lunch, for instance, to get feedback and test the water for issues and concerns and lurking problems.

3. (Corollary to #2) Don't try to slay dragons in the first 30 days. Get to know your team with one on ones, and do skip levels with everyone in your org, sharing your background and answer questions with a lot of "I don't know yet". Be willing to go to a lot of meetings before you start guarding your time and saying no.

That ought to get you started.

It's a privilege to serve you.


chuckbo's picture

I was going to ask this question, too, so I'm glad to see it started here already. (And after I'm done here, I'll go track down the 90 Days book.)

In my current company, I've been a lead person on several IT projects -- a technical lead of offsite teams who directs the work of several people on the project and handles the liaison between the team and the Business and between the team and our IT Management.

But it looks like I may be switching to another company where I'll be a real manager and have staff responsibilities, and I'm thinking about how to start out effectively. I don't know the teamsize; let's say between five and a dozen. I don't have many details yet, but I think it's a new team -- certainly a new position. Am I right to believe that it's important to establish some technical credibility so that the team doesn't think of me like a clueless, pointy-haired manager? I'm thinking about an agenda for an introductory meeting and wondering if it should focus mostly on them (background, time with company, projects, etc) and a little about me or the other way around?

Like all of the other posts I've read, I'm grateful for the Podcast; it's been interesting and helpful.

chuckbo's picture

1. 90 days is good. Spend some time with it, and think about what specific actions it implies. Do those.


I don't see this book in your list of recommendations. Did it get dropped accidentally or on purpose?

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

No, it never made the list. The list we have is our Hall of Fame. There are many other books we like, some that have real value. We are thinking of expanding our criteria to be a little more inclusive... but once we come off our top 15 or so, it's likely to jump to a hundred. And generally, early in relationships, folks don't' respond well to too many choices.

It's a good book - just not in our Hall of Fame.


SteveP's picture

Some advice that I would give about starting in a new position:-

1. Avoid becoming too visible too soon – don’t show you hand till you get some idea of the culture, remember first impression last – you may need to know something about the culture before you “dive in” and get a reputation.
2. Focus on the important things first – what is it your boss really wants done, it may not be scattered general business.
3. Avoid making snap judgements
4. Pursue the files – find the history of issues.
5. Become familiar with the way the organisation works – take home reading, annual reports, handbooks, manuals and company brochures.
6. Get to know your staff – get the 1 on 1’s going.
7. Endear yourself to your boss’s secretary
8. Avoid the “complainers”
9. If necessary restrict your social life – for first few weeks your brain will be in high demand with new knowledge and home reading, you will be exhausted – focus on the new job.

As you establish
1. Seek a mentor
2. LISTEN to what others have to say.
3. Adopt to the working style – at least in early days, till you decide to apply your “style” based on sound knowledge of the work area.
4. Specialise – stay out of others patches – become recognised as an expert in “your field”.
5. Respect the efforts of your support staff – do not make unrealistic demands.
6. Pick the brains of your peers – build relationships and seek opinions
7. Develop your management skills (hey here you are at Manager Tools – you already have an “edge”).
8. Strive for some early success.

chuckbo's picture

lots of good ideas for me to be thinking about and remembering. Thanks for the help.