The first 90 days of any new company, job or role are critical. Everything a leader does during that time period is key to long-term success.
According to Michael Watkins in his excellent book, The First 90 Days, there are 7 key steps to take during the first 90 days of a new role, job or organization to help ensure a successful transition and an even more successful future.
7 Key Activities in the First 90 Days:
Match Your Strategy to the Situation
Build Your Team
Secure Early Wins
These are applicable whether you are in the first 90 days of your first job or the first 90 days in the start of a new company or the first 90 days in a new leadership role.
Although, while at Chick-fil-A, I had many first 90-day experiences transitioning from one role to another, it’s been 33 years since I had a first 90 days in a new company. It is important to evaluate performance against those key steps after 90 days to be sure you are on the right track and if not, make the adjustments early.
While I don’t advocate for it, some companies hire people with a 90-day probationary period to determine if the employee can do the job and will like the company. I would rather those decisions be made during a thorough selection process so that when an employee joins the company, there is a mutual commitment to be successful.
Yesterday, was the end of my first 90-days in my own company. It was very surreal to spend that day at Chick-fil-A Support Center hosting clients who were visiting the company. It was my first visit back since retiring in July to start my own company. In some ways, it would look like I had not been very far in 90 days, but nothing could be further from the truth.
I assessed and reflected upon the successes, the disappointments and all that I learned. During this first 90 days, I completed the manuscript for my second book and spoke to 32 audiences. Consulting and coaching began as secondary duties, but quickly became opportunities and I proposed, prepared and presented and in the process gained a multitude of skills and several new clients. I fell in love with the process. I followed Michael Watkins formula and I am pleased with the outcomes.
Behind all of the activity of the roles on my business card, I learned to run a small business. I failed and made mistakes and I learned from them. When I took my first accounting class 36 years ago, I knew I did not like it, and nothing has changed! But I learned and with every new thing I learned, the excitement for this business and my own confidence has grown.
So, after 90 days I have concluded that I will stay the course and see where this journey takes me. It wasn’t perfect, but it was very, very good and it is the path God has prepared for me. Thank you to all of the many, many people who have helped, guided and encouraged me in this new venture. None of us do it alone!