5 Questions to Ask When Starting a New Job

Posted on 16 February 2022

Your choice of actions during your first few months in a new job impacts have a major impact on your success. If you make some early mistakes, you could face an uphill battle the rest of the time of your tenure. Conversely, if you build positive momentum early on, it'll make anything else easier or irrelevant for the rest of your tenure. Primarily, leaders during this type of life event need to make a concerted effort to stay focused and prioritize appropriately. It's easy to take on too much or waste your precious time. But there are five questions that should guide you.

1. What will you do to create lasting value?

Of the many questions one must ask before taking on a new job, the most important one is why were you put in your role. What do key stakeholders expect you to accomplish? What is your timeframe? How will your progress be assessed? ​​Remember that you may have multiple stakeholders, not just your boss or whoever handed down the task. Therefore it's essential to understand the full set of expectations so you can reconcile and satisfy all of them.

2. How am I expected to behave?

Be mindful of the most important norms in your new organisation. As they often say, “culture is an indication of how thinking and acting will be accepted in that company”. Your new role in the company may come with new behaviours, so it's key to be conscious of these. Norms of behaviour vary across the organisation so try to learn them before making any faux-pas. It will help you get used to your new environment, and it'll also show people that you're trying. Standards might change after promotion too - it all depends on the level at which you're operating, be careful!

3. Whose support is critical?

With insight into who you will be working for, you can then focus on the how. Usually, this involves more than simply building relationships. even if you work hard and do everything, your success will likely depend on other people who cannot be controlled or influenced by you. So, you need to build alliances while developing that skill called "navigating the political landscape" in order to move up and faster towards achieving your goals. Why is having power and influence important? How should we think about the networking process? What do "impressing" others really mean?

4. How will I get some early wins?

The leader in transition should identify the most promising ways to make a quick, positive impact in an organisation, prepare the action plan, and do so as efficiently as possible. The goals of this are to energize people, improve credibility, accelerate learning, and eventually be able to make deeper changes in the company.

5. What skills do I need to develop to excel in this role?

According to executive coach, Marshall Goldsmith "What got you here, won't get you there". The skills and abilities that got you to this point in your career may not be the ones (or all of the ones) needed for your new job, leading to falling into an inevitable comfort-zone trap. Get off to a good start with your new job by understanding what capabilities you need to progress. The sooner you can do this, the more potential for future advances in your career.

Keep fouced on your goals

Ask these five questions when you start a new job. Reflect on whether or not your answers to them change on a regular basis in order to stay on the right track through your transition and beyond.

Share this article