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The First 100 Days with Kevin Appleby and Graham Arrowsmith

How do you approach the vital first 100 days in a new role?

Today, we’re talking about this question, which Kevin recently posted on his LinkedIn profile. As listeners may well know, Kevin teaches seminars and this is something he was thinking about; can you offer help with the first 100 days of a new job, in the classroom?

Kevin Appleby and Graham Arrowsmith discuss the first 100 days on the first 100 days podcast

The first 100 days – feedback from LinkedIn

The number of views on that post has been 10,051. We had Matt Clark on the show a while ago. He was talking about using LinkedIn and the power of LinkedIn. If your audience is B2B (Kevin’s is), and you do it in the right way, you can get an awful lot of eyes on your posts. You can open up conversations with very new links and hence create a usable network.

One of the comments on Kevin’s post was this:

There are so many things to think about, but for me the starting point is always to invest time with my new teams and key stakeholders around the business to build new relationships, gather their views and show that I care about them.

You want to make a new impression when you enter a new role. What you want to do is create strong bonds with those who are going to effect your performance.

Reading around…

Kevin’s been doing some reading around this and a lot of people were saying it’s useful to create a stakeholder’s map, note down who they are. How much power do they have in an organisation? And how much interest do they have in what you’re doing? Draw 4 boxes and 2 axis with these questions position on them.

Arguably, within that first 100 days, you should be looking at those people who are making a real difference within your organisation. You might want to pick and choose who you pal along with and support to achieve the goals of the organisation. That’s the idea of looking at stakeholders; you want all those sales and outward-facing people in that top corner.

Ask the most basic questions

Another comment on Kevin’s post was ask the most basic questions. During the first 100 days, you have a bit of grace to ask the silly questions. So, ask them! Sometimes you can get funny looks but actually, if you’re new, asking the most basic of questions helps you understand the business at a fundamental level.

This also helps another point that was said: start at the bottom and work your way up. Then, when you’re talking to the important people you’ll be smarter!

Say ‘no!’ in the first 100 days

Now, this is an interesting one for the first 100 days of a new role. You’d think being the yes-man would be the best pathway. However, Oliver Deacon says that, by saying ‘no’ to as much as possible, you avoid getting dragged down in the nitty gritty trivia. Take as much time as possible. Oliver goes on to say:

In the first 100 days, use the time you create by saying no to have 1-3 big wins

This looks like a recipe for doing well in a big company. From what you learn you can create an opinion quickly, which helps you learn quicker and generate awareness.

Responsibility from the company

How many companies have given you a good induction? How many companies have given you a bad induction?

It’s very common to achieve a new job and be thrust in the deep end without some sort of float. A helpful suggestion Kevin makes is this:

Ask yourself what type of induction do you need? How do you almost arrange your own induction course? This is probably worth putting this on your to-do list! It’s not all about a HR bod coming to you with a bunch of policies you need to look at. It’s about how you can make a difference in the next 100 days in a very practical way.

30 day chunks

A part of being observant in your new role is observing the culture. The politics of the work place can be hard to navigate whilst working, and/or moving up the ladder. Victor Kohanski states culture can eat strategy for lunch!

Victor also mentions the idea of splitting your 100 days into smaller chunks. Spend some time observing, then use the next 30 or 60 days to implement changes according to your role.

Be authentic, not corporate

alone, chess pieces, color, be authentic in the first 100 days

Don’t make a change too quickly

As we’ve already said, spend a fair bit of time working things out before making changes.  One of Kevin’s links made a very good response here:

LinkedIn post in response to Kevin's question on the first 100 days of a new role on the next 100 days podcast

One of the things Nicolas talks about is the empowerment of the team he is managing. It is a great way to approach change when you’re in a new role and are managing a new team.

People don’t like change so it’s worth investing in relationships with your team before change. Graham advices waiting longer than Nicolas waited actually! A month isn’t long enough to really know each other and have strong bonds with them, understanding the feel of the team. This comes back to work culture; feel the work culture, know how people are and interact and make a judgement on time scale as a result before making change.

Ultimately, work with your team to create strategies in order to achieve potential.

As a result, Graham advises a strategy of question, observe, question, then listen.

  • Question
  • Observe
  • Question
  • Listen

Try your best to get underneath the bonnet, whether that is on a personal or systemic level, a client level, etc. This is because you then understand the problems at a deeper level. So, you can fix them! You’re not necessarily questioning if you’re observing. And, you’re not listening if you’re not questioning.

Onboarding strategy

If you want to get to the next level and have a successful 2 or 3 years before moving on, a lot of that is based on what you do in the first 100 days.

Additionally, the more senior you are, the more you are expected to drive your own integration into the role and business. In consequence, it’s worth not just thinking about the first 100 days of your new role. Think about the 100 days before you start that position.

Most people probably give 3 months notice to their employer. Your last 100 days in your old role is about getting out of as much as possible in that role, as quickly as possible. Start thinking about your new role and free up time to research the new organisation, thinking about your onboarding strategy and be prepared. Then, when you hit the ground in the new role you’re ready to go. Great advice!

The first 100 days review

There’s a lot of good stuff that can really help with the first 100 days of your new role. We’ve discussed a lot and there were some great responses from Kevin’s post. Do have a listen and learn…and, if you want to know where the idea of the first 100 days came from, listen to the end for Kevin’s fact!