Starting a new job? Why your first 30 days in a new post are crucial….

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Steve Lobley

I remember always being curious why business leaders and their businesses didn’t grow and develop as effectively as they could – and in line with their stated ambitions. It was a great puzzle – despite knowing exactly what to do, nine times out of ten they couldn’t make the changes needed or make the right decisions to truly achieve the step changes required. It led me to the mantra from the Chinese Proverb ‘it’s not the knowing that’s difficult, it’s the doing’ – because THAT is really what it’s all about after all…

And as a result I reshaped my career from business adviser and mentor to launch myself fully into the world of coaching. My 30+ years in business from a shift manager in a textile mill to MD of a £15M business in the corporate world allowed me a unique perspective on the challenges people were facing, and with loads of experience on how to address them. 

...and what you should focus on first.

Back in 1992, (yes a long time ago!)  I was promoted to Plant Manager of a Textile Mill – in charge of 120 people. Picture the scene: it’s Monday morning, I’m nervous about starting a new job. I walk through the door as the new boss and introduce myself to the receptionist who leads me to my office. I open my briefcase (which contained my lunch box, pen and pad – it’s 1992 remember!), and my PA asks me if I want a cup of tea.

All 120 people were looking to me for leadership, direction, or at least a sense that I had some idea what I was doing. Thankfully my instincts kicked in – I wrote a to-do list, introduced myself to the supervisors on the shop floor and asked about their biggest challenges. Phew. And this story has a happy ending because I got through that Monday unscathed – and many other Monday mornings were to follow.

But it was a little too ‘flying by the seat of my pants’ for my liking. So, if you find yourself promoted into a senior role here are some great pointers from Jeanne DeWitt, a former director at Google.

Within the first 30 days of starting a new job, good leaders:


‘Be as open and transparent about what you’re thinking as quickly as possible’

  • this will show your intent to operate with integrity and honesty

Ask questions:

‘I make a rule that about 50 percent of the words coming out of my mouth should end with a question mark’

  • this will demonstrate you’re interested and value the opinions of your team members.

Figure out what people really want to do:

‘Meet with all of your direct reports for at least an hour within your first week. Ask them about what they really enjoy doing and what they aspire to be doing’

  • this will indicate that you care about your team and want to help them build their careers and achieve personal success.

Get their hands dirty.

‘Spend time doing the work that your team actually does. Not only does this help establish you as someone who leads by example, but you also learn first-hand about all of the different challenges that people experience every day’

  • you’ll gain insight and earn the respect of your employees.

Are decisive.

‘Once you have a good lay of the land, explicitly lay out your vision and then plan to start moving toward it’

  • capitalise on the good impression you’ve created to get people on board with your plans from the start.

Have you recently started a new job in a senior role? We’d love to hear your thoughts on how you survived.

Or if you feel you’d like some targeted support to hit the ground running in your new role, have a look at our one to one coaching and mentoring services or contact us to find out whether Spring Leadership’s services could be the right fit for you.