The first 30 days

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa

Years ago I bought the book The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels and thought that might be one day I needed it for a new job or new role. It was a good read, but not until I took up the new job last November, I found I needed the skills in the book badly. However, I am also convinced that in nowadays’ Internet business world – 90 days are too long to prove your value. In many cases, you have only one month, or even only two weeks to understand the business / operations, to contribute and to make an impact.

So I’ve been on board for 30 days, in a new office, a new business initiative, a new technology infrastructure and with a new group of bright people. What did I learn ? They are:

  1. Well before you join the company, learn as much as possible about the new business – search the materials from Wikipedia, Google etc. and read. Also, ask around to see if your friends can tell you something about the business and technology behind it.
  2. Be a good listener, learn from the new colleagues and try to understand their problems and what they need at the same time.
  3. Don’t be afraid of making decision, even if you don’t know everything. It’s important to make decisions and to make mistakes in the first few weeks / months. And then, don’t make any more mistakes.
  4. Be proactive. It may be difficult to be proactive if you are not familiar with the environment. But I reckon we can wait forever and do nothing; or we can make the first move, ask for more work, and then learn new things along the way.
  5. Train your staff, don’t hold back. Train them everything you have – your skills, your knowledge, your ideals.
  6. Last but not least, don’t stop to contribute – even outside your office hour. For example, joining local UX interest group.

“No man is so poor as to have nothing worth giving: as well might the mountain streamlets say they have nothing to give the sea because they are not rivers. Give what you have. To someone it may be better than you dare to think.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow