Sector News

How to take advantage of the time between accepting and starting a new job

September 28, 2017
Borderless Leadership

It’s a golden opportunity – the Fuzzy Front End between accepting or being named to a new position and actually starting. Those taking advantage of that time and embracing the full potential of executive onboarding do dramatically better in the early days of their new role. Those not taking advantage of that time tend to have much less pleasant experiences. The prescription is relatively simple. Take advantage of the time. Plan. Get set up. Invest in relationships and learning.

Take advantage of the time

Leveraging the Fuzzy Front End to get a head start makes so much sense from any perspective that it always amazes me when people resist the chance. The excuses sound like this.

“My old firm wants me to work until the Friday before I start my new job.”

“My new firm wants me to start as soon as possible.”

“I need to take some time off and recharge (with or without family).”

That’s what people with a victim mentality say. They’re not in control of their own choices. Not you. You are in charge of you. By the end of this article you will understand how to take advantage of the time and know it’s more valuable than squeezing the time between jobs or taking a vacation.


This is basic. Preparation breeds confidence. As Vince Lombardi (or someone else) said, “The will to win is not nearly so important as the will to prepare to win.” Build a plan:

  • Think through the context and culture to inform your onboarding approach.
  • Identify stakeholders up, down and across (internal and external).
  • Craft your message.
  • Lay out the specific steps you’re going to do before day one, in your early days and over your first 100-days.

The main excuse we hear from people who do not want to craft a plan is that they don’t know enough to craft the perfect plan. Here’s the bad news. You’re never going to know enough. At any moment in time, you know what you know. You’re always better off clarifying your current best thinking. This gives you testable hypotheses that lead to directed learning. Essentially it changes you from reactively waiting for someone else to show you the way to being in charge of you.

Get set up

This is hygiene stuff. Won’t help you win. Will keep you from getting distracted and losing. Make sure someone is getting your ID cards, passwords, office, computer, new iphone X and everything else set up before Day One so you don’t have to worry about it. Make sure your family is set – especially if it involves a new house, school or the like.

Jumpstart relationships

The impact of reaching out to your few most critical stakeholders ahead of your first day is incalculable. Think about your boss(es), board members, critical peers, customers, clients and direct reports – especially the direct report who wanted your job and/or is a flight risk. Give them a call. Set a brief meeting. Ask them for their perspective on what you’re getting into.

This works. It works because new leaders can focus on these conversations before Day One instead of having to fit them in between operating meetings after they start. It works because asking for help before you start is a great way to start a relationship (per Brene Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability).

Jumpstart learning

Imagine you’ve just crossed the border from Ethiopia into Kenya. You’ve cleared immigration and are getting back on the highway. What must you do first?

Change lanes. People drive on the right in Ethiopia and on the left in Kenya.

Most of you didn’t know that. Most of you won’t know what’s different in your new organizations. Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman taught us why we need to lean on our System 2 deliberate thinking versus System 1 intuitive thinking in new situations.

Learn what’s different so you don’t drive on the wrong side of the new culture.

By George Bradt

Source: Forbes

comments closed

Related News

September 25, 2022

To slow down attrition, pay closer attention to what workers really need

Borderless Leadership

It can be a real challenge to try to fabricate fun, especially in a group workplace setting. I’m not going to claim to have the perfect answer to that, because I do think fun is much like romance: if you try to force it too much, it’s not going to happen. What you can do, though, is set the stage for it.

September 17, 2022

Lessons on leadership and community from 25 leaders of color

Borderless Leadership

The specific attributes that leaders of color bring can be the key to unlocking great leadership — for everyone. To better understand the relationship between leadership and identity, the authors talked to 25 leaders of color across the social sector and drew on their client work. Their research identified several noteworthy assets that leaders of color bring to their organizations.

September 11, 2022

The CEO’s role is changing. What it takes to get the top job now

Borderless Leadership

The mission of a CEO used to be fairly straightforward. Set the vision and strategy of your company and make sure the right people are in the right roles. Above all else, grow as fast and as big as you can. But as the world has changed, so have the demands of the CEO job— and the skills needed to succeed in it.