Starting out in your new assignment and don’t know where to begin? Especially in roles such as communications you may not always have all the context to get your act together and that can be a challenge. Here are a few perspectives to get you up and running.
Understand the maturity of the function: Gauge how the function has been viewed earlier and what has been the mandate thus far. Does it align with the current state of business? Is there a need to scale up? Is there an expectation to do so? What do stakeholders think of the function?
Go to the source: Seek our colleagues who know the ‘inside’ stories of how the team has been run and what have been the key milestones. Get to the core of issues and why certain projects stalled versus the ones that made progress.
Challenge the status quo: Understand how things are done currently and challenge the way they are run if you disagree. Often colleagues may have forgotten the context on how and why certain processes and policies were initially instituted and can be running it ‘how it used to’.
Look up the employee life cycle communications: Ask to look up documents for the complete ‘hire to retire’ cycle. Read the language and messages shared. Seek colleagues who joined recently and probe their reactions to the joining process.
The functioning: Learn more about how and where the team spends their time. How often does it meet up? Ask for the team’s charter, objectives and processes and standards. Are they clear? Do stakeholders know of the team’s plans?
Set your priorities: Be direct and clear on what you need to be doing to get up and running in the team. If you need to dig up the archives or review the team’s competencies or invest in training or even review the agencies on your roster – articulate them upfront and seek buy-in.
Define your scope: Know what your team can do and how much you can contribute. Based on the business needs define your scope of work and publish it on the team’s page or walk stakeholders through them. The sooner stakeholders know how and where you can add value; the better is your chances of getting to a great start.
Be realistic: When you are new to a role or an organization you can get tempted into bringing in best practices from earlier workplaces. Remember, that each workplace has their own need and there isn’t a ‘one size –fits all’. Avoid looking like someone who comes in and wants to ‘rock the boat’. Be realistic on what you can achieve. Choose your battles. It is also crucial to focus on ‘how’ you get things done as you take your team along.
Have other insights to start out on a great note? Share them here.