Your First 90 Days

You have just accepted a new job as a leader for a company – congratulations! As the ink is drying on your contract and you’re figuring out your commute and the benefits package, take some time to learn about the company and the people you will lead. 

Here are some questions to be thinking about in your proverbial “first 90 days,” when you have the opportunity to make a good impression, learn about the organization and lay the groundwork for personal and organizational success.

Learn about the history
1. Who came before you in this role? Where is he or she now?
2. If it’s a new role, why was it created? Who supported its creation? (and who didn’t?)
3. What is the background of the company? (who founded it, when, why, how has the company evolved since being founded?)

Learn about the culture (which is expressed as “how we do things around here”)
1. What is the culture of the organization overall, your specific business unit or department and the team you will lead?
2. What does the company do? (how does it make money, who is the competition, who are the customers, top selling products/services, biggest challenges, greatest wins…)
3. How could your actions/values be interpreted as fitting in the culture or being “countercultural”?

Learn about the people (meet as many people as possible in person)
1. Who is on your team? What strengths do they bring to their roles? What challenges do they face?
2. Who are the official leaders (in titled roles) and the unofficial leaders (who don’t have the titles, but have influence)? What are the lines of communication?
3. Who do you need to build relationships with in order to be successful? Who will give you honest feedback?

Make your plans
1. What skills and experience do you bring to this role? What do you still need to learn?
2. What quick wins can you achieve with your team?
3. What longer term plans can you develop and execute that fit with the company’s strategy and mission?

There are many ways to find answers to these questions and then reflect on the; for example, you can meet people in your new organization, reach out to your mentors and work with an executive coach. The more you can observe and learn in your first 90 days, the more your immediate and long-term actions will be successful in the many days that follow. 

My executive coaching program helps you answer these questions and others, using interviews, assessments and active practice.  Together we evaluate the situation, develop a strategic vision of what you would like to accomplish and then translate that vision into an action plan.  This coaching is not remedial, but aimed at helping already successful individuals maximize their impact, whether you have recently been hired or have already completed your first 90 days on the job.  To find out more, email me at 

Gilda Bonanno LLC © 2016