The first ten weeks of starting a new role as the leader of any team are
probably the most critical – get them wrong and you risk failure, get them
right and you will enjoy and thrive in your new role. What do you need to
do, where should you focus, and what must you avoid at all costs?
To enable the new leader to take control, the Fast Track manager will
seek to understand key facts, build relationships and develop simple
mechanisms for monitoring and control – establishing simple but effective
team processes. Again, this task will be simplified using modern technolo-
gies and so becomes effortless and part of day-to-day behaviour.
Changing roles
Why is this a critical time?
Whenever you start a new role or job, whether within your existing busi-
ness or joining a new company, you have an opportunity to make a
positive impression on others. However, recognise that you will only get
A role in risk management will naturally give you access
to all levels of the organisation. Get noticed (for the right
reasons) and your career should take off.
one chance to make a first impression
get the first few months wrong
and it could impact your relationships with others for a very long time.
During a period of transition, the team you will be joining will have few
preconceptions. People will typically have an open mind and be willing
to try new ideas, giving you the benefit of the doubt. We often see this
phenomenon when consultants are called in to resolve a critical business
issue. They often say exactly the same things as some of the internal
managers, but as outsiders their views are respected and acted upon.
This is typically a period of high emotional energy, and activities will
often get a higher level of enthusiasm and commitment. Use this time
wisely and you will gain significant advantage.
What are the potential pitfalls?
Whilst this period of transition presents opportunities to make a good
impression, take care not to get it wrong. Few people recover from a
bad start in a new role. You will be faced with a number of challenges to
You may lack specific knowledge and expertise in your new
role. This will make you vulnerable to making wrong decisions
In every team there will be a mixture of people and politics.
Getting in with the wrong people or setting up favourites can
limit your opportunities for future promotion.
There will be a lot to do in a short period of time, and you may
well feel overwhelmed by it all.
Most effective managers rely heavily on their informal net-
works, but in the early stages of a new job these don’t exist.
What is the worst-case scenario?
Because people often give the benefit of the doubt to those who are
starting a new job or joining a new team, things often go well for a
period of time. If you make mistakes they will forgive you because you’re
new to the job. This is referred to as the honeymoon period. New
Michael Watkins (2003) The First 90 days, Harvard Business School Press, Harvard.

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