How to build credibility during your first 90 days on the job?
You may be starting a new job or moving to a new role within your company. The first 90 days are critical for building your credibility with others and setting yourself up for success. I would like to share with you the following story about how Elena built her credibility as the new director of sales at a fin-tech company.
Building Credibility in Your First 90 Days on the Job
After more than 10 years at a highly reputable bank, Elena decided to take a sales director role at a fast-growing fin-tech company. She needed to hit the ground running and quickly build credibility with her new team, her peers and company’s leadership, as well as with clients. She proceeded to build relationships with each one of the above stakeholders. Her common method followed the “ASK. LISTEN. DO” pattern. Peers / Senior leadership: Elena scheduled one-on-one meetings where she emphasized the credentials she was hired for (previous experience, the brand name bank she used to work for) and looked for common acquaintances to build rapport. She focused on studying the needs and styles of other department heads and her bosses and then presented the value she was hoping to deliver to them through her new role, asking for their feedback. She also asked for their views about the previous interactions with her team, listened and promised to address any issues. Later on, she followed up on the issues discussed: she shared them with her team and made sure to address the points that were valid or negotiate the differences of opinion. For example, when the CFO highlighted there was an issue with a client’s pricing, she went on to renegotiating the contract and informed him of the positive resolution of the issue. Subordinates: With her team, Elena chose the path of empathy, offering her help in resolving any issues they may have. She scheduled one-on-ones with each team member, including the interns, to discuss their experience so far, their career goals, next steps and how could she, as the leader of the department, help them achieve their goals. She helped them reflect and set development goals and later rearranged the team’s responsibilities and structure based on the feedbacks. With time, the team also got to watch her perform in meetings and recognize her new approach and leadership. She also made sure to understand their pain points and treat failure as a team, and not point fingers whenever anyone made a mistake. As a result of this, in the most recent corporate climate employee survey, Elena’s department had the highest engagement levels of all other departments. Clients: With clients, Elena had less time to spend on building deep relationships. She therefore had to take another approach. She:
Focused on establishing credentials upfront, by connecting with the clients before the meeting on LinkedIn so that they can see her background and common connections. She also introduced herself, sharing her background and current title of Sales Director.
Researched the history of the relationship before each meeting, discussing any previous issues with her team, complaints the client had made in the past and therefore knew in advance whether the client was happy or not.
Led with a question: “We’ve had this partnership with you for 5 years now, how do you feel it’s going?” Most of the time Elena knew already what they will say but she wanted to give the clients space to voice their concerns and feel heard. Then she worked with them on next steps and addressed any issues that came up.
With this "Ask. Listen. Do" approach, Elena had managed to not only meet but exceed her sales goals by 5%, within only 6 months of joining the company.
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