Preparing for Your New Position – A Systematic Approach

new job

As a consultant and coach I am frequently asked for advice when changing jobs. This job change may  be a position change or promotion  within the same organization. Either  way, the same advice applies. I will  provide this in four separate blog  posts.

  1. A Systematic Approach
  2. Phase One: Pre-Start
  3. Phase Two: First Days On The Job
  4. Phase Three: Settling In and Taking Charge

You may not feel the need to use all four, or to complete every checklist suggested. Depending on your situation, some of the information will be more pertinent than other parts. You decide which sections you’ll want to spend more time with.

  1. A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH

Why Were You Selected For This Job?

Probably because the company likes your track record – both the kind of work you’ve been involved in and your accomplishments in that field. Probably because your new management senses that your personality and methods are compatible with theirs. And certainly because they can visualize you as part of the future growth and profitability of their organization.

How can you confirm their good judgment in selecting you, and use this opportunity as a quantum leap toward your career goals?

Probably by the professional manner in which you introduce yourself to the organization and take hold of your new responsibilities. Probably by the initial impressions you make with all the people you’ll be dealing with in you job. And certainly by your ability to get up to speed quickly and reach your maximum productivity in minimum time.

Right now you’re concerned with disengaging successfully from your current job. That’s a proper attitude, because you owe your organization (and yourself!) the courtesy of a professional closure. However, even at this early stage your emphasis begins to shift toward the new assignment, and toward your strategies for starting the next phase of your career.

What’s the best way to “hit the ground running” in your new job? It begins with your commitment to take an active role in developing a systematic approach to the transition process starting now instead of waiting until your reporting date. Without compromising the “closeout” requirements of your current job, you can begin to collect the information that will help you understand:

  •  Your new organization/division (how it operates; where it wants to go; how it intends to get there)
  • Your new job/position (what management expects of you)
  • The resources available to you (people, budgets, programs and operating freedoms you’ll need to get the job done

At this point you may know very little about the inner workings of the organization. You may have only a skeletal idea of your job requirements. You may have met very few of the people, except for your new boss and the Personnel manager who negotiated with you. Yet your mind is filled with questions:

  1. Who am I replacing, and how was he/she regarded by superiors, associates and subordinates?
  2. Why was the position vacant?
  3. Who else wanted my job, and how can I deal effectively with them in the coming months?
  4. What commitments were made to or by my predecessor that I should know about?
  5. Why was I selected?
  6. Upon arrival, what immediate responsibilities will I have to take on?
  7. If there is unfinished business with my old job, what arrangements would be acceptable to my new boss?
  8. How do things really get done?
  9. Do I have any allies or adversaries in my new job, and how are they identified?
  10. How and when will I be formally announced to the organization and its people?

The list could be much longer, and some of the questions may have been answered during the interview that preceded your selection. In any case, you need the answers to begin planning your systematic approach. As a starting point, make a list of question you have now about your new job. (Later as you begin to collect more specific information, you’ll be able to ask more pertinent questions, in much greater detail.)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS – Make a list all of the questions you’d like to be answered about your new job. Note the sources available to you at present for providing the answers.

Why have a Systematic Approach?

For many professionals the introduction to a new job is a haphazard affair. The good news is usually accompanied by smiles, handshakes, and vague statements about “getting together after you’re on board.”

Then follows a period of coordinating the relocation with in-house specialists….reading a few general pamphlets about the company and its products or services….and possibly some lonely moments of contemplating the nameless and shapeless challenges that lie ahead.

The first day on the new job is a kaleidoscope of administrative forms.. an absolutely un-rememberable volume of new faces and names….a quick tour of the immediate area…. and a few private minutes with the boss, whose impromptu remarks about projects and problems barely register.

Suddenly the new person is alone at a desk or behind an office door, checking the starter supply of pencils and wondering what comes next.

Answer? Simple. Next comes a honeymoon period – length unknown and indeterminable – after which the prevailing judgments will be rendered in either of two forms:

  • “Joe really has taken charge in record time! We’ve got a real winner there!”

-OR-

  •  “It’s a shame, but Joe still hasn’t grasped the situation yet. Guess we can’t always be right.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you. A few hours of up-front planning can arrange important subjects and issues in a logical priority and eliminate minor matters that tend to “fog” the entry process. The “people” skills you already possess can help you gain the cooperation of your boss and other sources of advance information. With a systematic approach to your upcoming transition you can:

  • obtain information needed to form preliminary conclusions about the organization, your new job responsibilities, and the people you’ll be dealing with;
  • provide a framework for your self and others to follow during your transition;
  • simplify your “first day” entry with your boss, subordinates and associates;
  • increase your managerial effectiveness during your first weeks and months on the job;
  • bring yourself up to speed as quickly as possible in terms of productivity and results.

A Matter of Timing

Your entry process begins while you’re still in your old job, and ends on the day you’re performing effectively in the new position. Let’s divide the total process  into three distinct phases as follows:

Pre-Start – A time for gathering information, researching the elements of you job (at least in general terms), getting familiar with some of the people involved, and coordinating your announcement and arrival.

 First Days on the job – A carefully structured format for meeting key people, introducing yourself to your staff, getting down to brass tacks with your boss, and becoming familiar with departmental tasks and responsibilities.

Settling In/Taking Charge – A newcomer’s game plan for managing the efforts of people, solving problems during the first several weeks on the job, and obtaining complete agreement and support from the boss.

Each phase is treated separately  and will follow in the next three blog posts, with a text that discusses the principal issues and work-sheets designed to help you plan your actions and priorities. To Be Continued….

Sharon Jenks, CEO/President -The Jenks Group, Inc.

 

 

 

Strategic Operations Skills Training (S.O.S.T.) Fast Roping

US Navy SEALs teach executives

 

 

 

Behind the scenes in our S.O.S.T. program, participants are learning new skills that will apply to their Mission. Taught by US Navy SEALs, each of these skills are transferable to the workplace. The only way you can learn how is to experience it yourself. An experience you will never forget, as you push yourself out of your comfort zone.

In this quick clip, Alpha and Bravo Teams are readying for Game Changing Skill #6 – “The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday”

 

Find out how your team can experience this game changing program at http://www.sosttraining.com

 

Executives Learn from Navy SEALs – Game Changing Skill 4: Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning Strategic Planning

How do you define strategy? Do you know what initiatives are necessary for achievement? Is each team member unconsciously competent in performing their responsibilities?

For the purposes of this skill, we define strategy as the overarching methodology utilized to meet the needs of achieving the mission.  We form these strategies into initiatives:  those activities that must be performed in order to gain traction and give the mission its mobility.

If our mission or goal is to take the beach, we may deploy several different strategies to accomplish this goal.  We could drop in from the sky, we could swim up to the beach, we could land a Zodiac on the sand, or we might drive up from the land side.  Each strategic initiative must be assessed for relevancy and risk as well as probability of outcome.

Each approach must be carefully thought out with assumptive reasoning, as much intelligence as can be gathered, and as much experience as the individual team members might have.  With the collective in hand, we must assess our skills as a team and determine what approach will best achieve the mission.

The developmental scale is as follows:

1.      The Mission

Determined by the top ranking officer.

In business, this is the CEO working with the senior executive team and the Board.

“Penetrate the building, locate and secure the President, bring him out alive and with minimal collateral damage.”

2.      Recon Team

Determine Ops Force and Building Layout while gathering any and all relevant intelligence that could affect the mission or the team.

In business, this is assessing our structure from facilities to environment, as well as gathering our reporting metrics for a look-back and a plan forward.  We might also look at our competitors and assess their market position.

Reconnaissance and Intelligence

Many times in the business community, we find ourselves reacting to information that may not be factual.  The importance of having vetted factual information on which we can act successfully is of paramount importance to the strategy we’re trying to deploy and keeping our commitment constant to advancing our organization in a game-changing manner.  Reacting to information both internally and externally is only a surety when we have vetted information that allows us to prepare adequately for the natural and reasonable risks in our path to achievement.

   3.   Strategic Initiatives

Based on the mission goal, the reconnaissance intelligence, the team capabilities, the team “kit,” and the experience, skill, and education of the team members, design the strategic initiative(s) necessary to achieve the mission goal.

Remember to utilize all the game-changing skills you have learned thus far.

Once you’e outlined your strategic initiatives, carefully assess each one and select only two initiatives out of all the concepts discussed.  Be sure to discuss all suggestions before proceeding to the next step.

   4. Assumptions

State the assumptions that the team has made in designing their Strategic Initiative(s).

   5.  Mission Domino

The Mission Domino is the outline of all the specific actions that must take place in order for the strategic initiative to be effective at achieving the mission.  These may be individual actions or team actions; situations or outcomes; etc.  This is where the devil in the detail makes the big picture look easy.  Again, remember to use all of the game-changing skills you’ve learned thus far.

 6. Risk Assessment/Contingency Planning

Reviewing your initial Strategic Initiative(s), Assumptions, and the Mission Domino, consider any and all activity that may present risk.

For the purpose of this exercise, consider risk in two categories.

First, what is the probability of the identified risk happening on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being of small probability and 5 being a show-stopper?

Second, assess the impact of the threat should it occur, on a scale of 0% to 100% with 0% having no impact and 100% being a show-stopper.

Identify and discuss all potential risks.  Once identified and assessed, create a mitigating response to each threat.

   7.  Train

Identify your training needs based on the Mission, Vetted Facts, Intelligence, Strategic Initiatives, Assumptions, Risk Assessment, Mitigating Response(s), and Team strengths.  Advise your Instructors of any additional training needs you have.

   8. Execute

http://www.sosttraining.com

Executives Learn from Navy SEALs – Game Changing Skill 3: Subjugation of Self to Mission

Safety trainingCould your executive team explain the corporate mission to a complete stranger? How do you deal with team members who are willing but unable? What about those who are able but unwilling?

The idea of “subjugation of self to mission” requires some definition of terms.

As defined by Merriam-Webster, subjugation strictly translates as “to gain control of by use of force; to gain obedience.”  Mission is defined as a “goal or activity given to an individual or group to accomplish.”

For the purposes of our work, we are defining “subjugation of self to mission” as the understanding and agreement that the goal we want to achieve is of greater importance than the individual team members who are charged with the task of  executing the strategy it takes to achieve the goal.

One should not assume that the individual is not important in this arena; quite the contrary.  The value proposition of the team is based on the collective contribution made by all members.  We often toss around the axiom that the “sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts,” and particularly in Military Special Ops such as our US Navy SEALs, the axiom becomes a foundational pillar of the strategic approach to mission.  All team members have a role that is strictly defined within the mission, a responsibility that is non-transferable, the authority necessary to complete their specific task, and the training and support necessary to be successful.  In this scenario, if an individual is incapable of completing their piece of the assignment, it does not mean the mission fails; instead, it means another teammate must complete their task as well as yours. -Ed Jenks, Sr Strategist for The Jenks Group, Inc.

 

 

Executives Learn from Navy SEALs – Game Changing Skill 1: Tip of the Spear

Tip of the Spear: Speed, Surprise, and Impact of Action Triangle

 

What constitutes speed in your organization? Do you have the advantage of surprise? Are you aware of the game-changing impact of your actions?

 

 

S.O.S.T. is an educational experience for executives who want a new, more effective approach to achieving corporate goals. Let us teach you how this can be applied in your organization.

 

 

http://sosttraining.com/

 

What US Navy SEALs can teach your Executive Teams

Strategic Operations Skills Training

Strategic Operations Skills Training

 

KFMB Channel 8 News reporter Alicia Summers filmed and participated in our S.O.S.T. training. Here is FAST Team 8, they were awesome!! Back row left to right, US Navy SEAL Steve Bailey, Master Chief Ret., Dave Sweeney, Room 5; David Foos, Meeting Match; Craig Goldberg, 6 Degrees Business Networking; US Navy SEAL Mike Cheswick; Faisal Kohgadai, Meeting Match; Matthew Arena, TGG Accounting; US Navy SEAL Kirby Horrell; Front row left to right, Sharon Jenks, The Jenks Group, Inc. and Alicia Summers, Reporter KFMB Channel 8 News. You can watch the video here:

Not Your Typical Corporate Classroom

To learn more about the Strategic Operations Skills Training (S.O.S.T.) go to http://www.sosttraining.com and find out how this unique program can improve your organization when your team learns the 6 Game-Changing Skills taught by the US Navy SEALs and The Jenks Group instructors.

 

The Changing Face of Strategy

Blue-Ocean-Strategy

 

I think it is a safe assumption to say that business has never been tougher, more difficult to plan, and less predictable than ever before in our Baby Boom, business lives.  Many Chief Executives have done away with long term planning and instead have created the rolling eighteen month plan that they feel allows them to make faster adjustments on the fly.  While this might seem reasonable on the surface, it may carry some unexpected performance challenges over the course of time.

I was in a meeting with a very solid team of Senior Executives a few weeks ago discussing some traction issues they were challenged with as business was flat-lined and The Board had started to dig into operations a bit more than before.  The Team, normally aggressive and engaged, were frustrated and even a bit noticeably depressed.  We stopped the normal business process and just talked for a while about things in general when the VP of Operations blurted out that he had no idea where the company was going anymore and had no idea how to contribute.  They no longer had team goals and the company had done away with any formal planning process in favor of the fast-on-your-feet, plan in the moment management style.  Even the CEO was fidgeting in his seat as it had been his idea to try something new to deal with the uncertainty of the business climate.

Good CEO’s know that planning is important for a host of reasons; Great CEO’s know that over the course of time, planning and strategy will win the day more often than not.  There is however, a way to have your cake and eat it to and even eat it on the run if you have to!

If we are to get the gears turning again and play out some of the uncertainty we all deal with on a daily basis, there is nothing better than a solid dose of planning and strategic thinking.  The difference is in the way we plan and the way we execute; that’s where we have a lot of room to grow.  If you hired the very best people you could, and have surrounded yourself with “game changers”, there is one thing you need to understand.  Strength needs purpose. Having a strong team is wonderful; having a strong team with a goal makes you unstoppable.

There are three basic concepts that can help you take some of the uncertainty out of the future and get your team going in the right direction with purpose.

First, bring economics into your culture; Board Meetings, Executive Staff meetings, general staff meetings, lead the discussion.  If you do not know a lot about economics, see your Chair and ask for help because it’s not about your financial statements.  I follow three Economists on a regular basis and I have to tell you, they bring hope, clarity and continuity to your world.  Pick someone you like, someone you can understand, and someone who has a strong track record over a long period of time of solid predictability.   Working with your key executives, develop an economic outlook that allows your team to develop their respective budgets to a tolerance of three percent +/-.  That’s a six point split and should be able to cover most anomalies you could run into.

Second, get the team back in the saddle and give them meaningful time to think strategically about the economy, their business, and their industry.  The day-to-day grind is hard on people and in the kind of weird space we are in right now, they need to break away from the constant barrage of texts, emails, and people challenges and get up on top of it again.  As a CEO, set the direction of the organization, and also those timeless goals that create endearing culture and allow a team to focus their strength.  Set the stage with your goals, and have the team develop multiple strategic initiatives by which to achieve them.  This allows the team to select those initiatives that have the highest probability of being successful and leave the others in the war chest so that if things change they already know what to do.

Third, be relevant, always be relevant.  As a CEO, you need to be sure that you are relevant.  Are you deepening your relationships and are you out there finding out what’s going on?  Is your Board relevant?  Do they understand your business and are they bringing relevant value? Are they helping you develop yourself as a “game changer”?  Is your team relevant?  Are you helping them develop “game changing” skills?

If we are to get things back on track, we must not be afraid to step on a moving machine, and do so with flawless grace.

Ed Jenks is a 25 year veteran of the C-Suite having served as CEO in multiple turn-around management positions as well as a Master Strategist facilitating organizational planning for mid-tier companies.  Jenks is the author of CEO: Point Blank, and a Principle and Senior Strategist at Solana Beach based TJGI Consulting. 

 

 

Want to play and learn along side of Special Ops like the Navy SEALS?

Watch this video and find out!

http://www.10news.com/news/ceos-go-to-war-with-navy-seals-to-make-their-businesses-better-04302014

The Jenks Group, Inc., a Solana Beach based firm has launched their newest program,  Strategic Operations Skills Training (S.O.S.T.) that brings Special Forces such as the Navy Seals, CEO’s and their Executive Teams together through mission critical exercises including uniforms, gear, guns and simmunitions.

S.O.S.T. can be a rigorous two or three-day program. In the end, CEO’s and their executive teams come out the other side learning how to take chaos, which exists in all organizations, and make it organized chaos, such like the Navy Seals do when they are on a mission.

It is Hyper Realistic ™, down to hostiles, loud noises and smoke. In other words it’s not your grandmother’s team building session. And it is done right alongside the best team in the world, the Navy Seals. After each mission CEO’s and their team are debriefed on what they learned in combat and how that hard skill is transferred into their workplace specifically on carrying out their Strategic Plans.

This program is a win/win because it is employing veterans in a meaningful way, using their amazing skills and intelligence to help CEO’s positively affect their bottom-line.

For more information on this program tailored to your organization contact Sharon Jenks, President The Jenks Group, Inc. – 858-525-3163

jnkslogo2

The One Question Every CEO Needs to Answer

It can be lonely at the top, especially for CEOs. Most CEOs have no way to systematically gather the right information from all levels of the business. While they may be drowning in data, it is almost always historical in nature and provides little help in answering the key question of How likely is my company to meet its corporate goals?

CEO, Goals, Leadership, Expectations

Employees who see no direct tie between the corporate goals and their work will still perform tasks, but their guiding principles may lead them astray. They will make decisions based upon the priorities of their manager, their department or themselves, which may or may not line up with the CEO’s priorities. With no understanding of the company’s overall goals, employees may blindly follow company policy without regard to how it impacts customers or the business. Then, they will report on individual or departmental metrics that don’t help the CEO determine how well the company is tracking towards the future.

In addition, unfortunately in some companies the only guiding factor that drives decision-making is the static budget that was created six or nine months ago. This tyranny of the annual budget makes it difficult to adapt to changing business conditions, since the information is often woefully out of date when decisions are being made. If the only goal the CEO has communicated is to stick to the budget, then that may be achieved, but at the expense of business opportunities that could lead to growth.

The answer is to have a clear vision and a set of corporate goals that the CEO owns and manages every quarter. Unlike yearly goals (that are often driven by HR), quarterly goals enable the CEO to drive company priorities, adapt to changing business conditions, and engage employees. CEOs should ensure that every employee understands the goals and how his or her daily job contributes to them. Weekly two-way feedback mechanisms will help continually align employees to the goals and give them a chance to report on any issues. The CEO should be able to see status updates on every corporate goal, with alerts to issues as they arise.

Translating strategy and priorities to the individual employees will help knowledge workers be more productive and engaged. Engaged employees who understand how their jobs support the corporate goals will in turn communicate timely, relevant information about how they are actively contributing to the company’s success. CEOs with a system to collect and analyze this information will have more influence in the organization, with fewer surprises and the ability to act on issues before it’s too late. They’ll have an informed answer to the question that keeps them up at night: How likely is my company to meet its corporate goals?”  – Joel Trammell

 

How to Get Your Employees to Think Strategically

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Studies show that strategic thinking is the most important element of leadership. But how do you instill the trait in others at your company?

What leadership skill do your employees, colleagues, and peers view as the most important for you to have? According Robert Kabacoff, the vice president of research at Management Research Group, a company that creates business assessment toolsit’s the ability to plan strategically.

He has research to back it up: In the Harvard Business Review, he cites a 2013 study by his company in which 97 percent of a group of 10,000 senior executives said strategic thinking is the most critical leadership skill for an organization’s success. In another study, he writes, 60,000 managers and executives in more than 140 countries rated a strategic approach to leadership as more effective than other attributes including innovation, persuasion, communication, and results orientation.

But what’s so great about strategic thinking? Kabacoff says that as a skill, it’s all about being able to see, predict, and plan ahead: “Strategic leaders take a broad, long-range approach to problem-solving and decision-making that involves objective analysis, thinking ahead, and planning. That means being able to think in multiple time frames, identifying what they are trying to accomplish over time and what has to happen now, in six months, in a year, in three years, to get there,” he writes. “It also means thinking systemically. That is, identifying the impact of their decisions on various segments of the organization–including internal departments, personnel, suppliers, and customers.”

As a leader, you also need to pass strategic thinking to your employees, Kabacoff says. He suggests instilling the skill in your best managers first, and they will help pass it along to other natural leaders within your company’s ranks. Below, read his five tips for how to carry out this process.

Dish out information.

Kabacoff says that you need to encourage managers to set aside time to thinking strategically until it becomes part of their job. He suggests you provide them with information on your company’s market, industry, customers, competitors, and emerging technologies. “One of the key prerequisites of strategic leadership is having relevant and broad business information that helps leaders elevate their thinking beyond the day-to-day,” he writes.

Create a mentor program.

Every manager in your company should have a mentor. “One of the most effective ways to develop your strategic skills is to be mentored by someone who is highly strategic,” Kabacoff says. “The ideal mentor is someone who is widely known for his/her ability to keep people focused on strategic objectives and the impact of their actions.”

Create a philosophy.

As the leader, you need to communicate a well-articulated philosophy, a mission statement, and achievable goals throughout your company. “Individuals and groups need to understand the broader organizational strategy in order to stay focused and incorporate it into their own plans and strategies,” Kabacoff writes.

Reward thinking, not reaction.

Whenever possible, try to promote foresight and long-term thinking. Kabacoff says you should reward your managers for the “evidence of thinking, not just reacting,” and for “being able to quickly generate several solutions to a given problem and identifying the solution with the greatest long-term benefit for the organization.”

Ask “why” and “when.”

Kabacoff says you need to promote a “future perspective” in your company. If a manager suggests a course of action, you need to him or her ask two questions: First, what underlying strategic goal does this action serve, and why? And second, what kind of impact will this have on internal and external stakeholders? “Consistently asking these two questions whenever action is considered will go a long way towards developing strategic leaders,” he writes. -BY