New role? Will you sink or swim?


Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash


Like many people, you might find yourself caught between feeling the excitement of starting something new, and the discomfort of the unknown. New opportunities come along with new co-workers, a new boss, an unfamiliar workspace and potentially unfamiliar ways of working.


Starting off on the right foot is critical. No one starts a new job aiming to fail, but it's easy to make it difficult for yourself. With some preparation and self-awareness, you can increase the odds of your success.


Ask these 5 questions to set yourself up for success:

1. My Purpose. What am I really here do to?

If you ask the majority of leaders, they will struggle to articulate their specific purpose. I’ve been there. I’ve been able to articulate the company and even the team purpose, but when it comes to answering “What is it only I can do given my position?” it was pretty fuzzy.


What happens when your purpose is fuzzy? You take on work that doesn’t move you towards your desired destination and your contribution is apt for misinterpretation by your team, peers and colleagues.

With a clear purpose, you have a compass. It becomes easier to identify and communicate your priorities, manage expectations and work towards your goals.


2. My impact. How will I know if I am on track?

It is likely that through the interview process you got some clues regarding what is expected of you and what challenges the role is meant to solve. What might be proving a bit more elusive are the meaningful indicators of how you’re doing once you are in the role. Identifying these indicators is critical to your success. How will you be measured? What check-points will you use to tell you if you are on track?


3. My stakeholders. Who is impacted by my work?

A key step in your early days is to understand who your stakeholders are, how they contribute to your ability to impact and how they need to be taken care of. When incoming leaders fail to identify key relationships or miscalculate stakeholder influence, they are apt to encounter strong headwinds that slow them down or, worst-case, sink them. Conversely, building these important relationships creates a powerful tailwind that will help you gain buy-in on your key initiatives and accelerate your performance.


4. My future-self. What kind of leader will I need to be?

Who are you as a leader? What do you stand for? Having a vision of your future-self acts as a guide for HOW you will lead in service of your Purpose. It is a way to focus attention on the actions and behaviours that matter most, the ones you want to shine through; and the kind of impact you want to make as a leader.


5. My strengths. How will my strengths influence my success?

Self-awareness is crucial in almost every professional and interpersonal setting. When you spend time reflecting on and identifying your beliefs, assumptions, values and strengths, it allows you to recognize the situations where you shine and where you cast a shadow. This level of awareness means you can play to your strengths and seek support in situations where you are weakest.


Bottomline. The difference between sinking and swimming is often based on much focus you put into preparing for this high-stakes transition.

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