Fix. But, what if there are problems when you enter the organization - problems that can't wait months to be resolved? Remember, they looked long and hard for you because you had something they needed in the organization. This is when you get your hands dirty and become an instant part of the fix. In other words, go deep toward understanding the issues. Attend meetings you wouldn't normally attend and work closely with the hands-on folks. Use the phrase, "At my last company we did it this way" sparingly because it gets old really fast. This is also the time to use all of your expertise and experience to analyze the situation and make decisions. Remember some of your best decisions are made before you have all the facts because you instinctively know what needs to be done. Take copious notes so that when the crisis is over you know how to prevent if from happening again.
This is also a great time to see what process and/or procedures are in place and how they affect the outcome. For example, when I was in the first month of starting a new job, there was a network storm that brought down a remote office. After the team was able to resolve the issues I documented what I saw:
- There was no change control; nobody knew what had been modified that might have caused this to happen.
- The person fixing the problem was a single point of contact and there was no evidence of cross training going on. If this person had not been on site that day, who knows how long the network storm would have existed.
- There was a lack of monitors in the infrastructure so tracking down the network storm was about guessing which circuits to disconnect.
- And my personal favourite, the network monitoring console hardware had been powered off.
You can bet that after this incident there were some changes made and made within days. The documentation I created that described the problem, the solution and the changes that were going to be made were published to the affected office, my managers and my team. In other words, let everyone know you are doing something and that the problem isn't going to happen again.
Hang back.So, that leaves us with "business as usual". There are many things that could be said about this but then I suspect that your predecessor would agree that it really isn't the right way to go. If the people that hired you wanted business as usual, would they have hired you? Understand that you are bringing ideas and methodologies that you have picked up over time. Now is the time to leverage them and create synergistic solutions. Everything that gets fixed isn't necessarily a problem, however: Creating efficiencies or cost effective solutions for things that aren't broken can contribute as much as fixing broken processes.
Your first hundred days will tell your new company what you are all about. It is also the best time to introduce change because that's what you were hired for.
Sam Aruti has held several positions, from system administrator to managing director, in the financial services sector over the last 20 years
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