Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reducing the Breakeven

Congratulations! You are about to start your new career - either with a full time job or an internship. What are the key things you should be thinking about now and during your first few months (or weeks in terms of an internship) on the job?

Starting off, you want to try to reduce the breakeven. Companies generally assume that it will take a person about 6 months before they will begin to add value to a firm (break even point). You want to reach this point faster and thus build your professional brand as a quick learner and strategic thinker. So, how do you do this?

1. First, tap into all of the data and documentation that you can find on the firm. Get analyst reports, read websites and articles, and any internal information that you have received. Know as much as you can before you get there, as this will help you significantly.

2. Connect, connect, connect. Talk with people who understand the culture and the politics of your new company. Talk to current employees, retirees, people who have left. All will provide good insight into the firm. You will learn about the philosophy and politics of the company - how are things done? What are the core values? Who makes decisions and who has the actual power? What is your new boss's working style? How can you best reflect this and make yourself invaluable? Which senior people in the firm do you need to build relationships with? How do they operate?

3. Figure out what your job entails. What are the main objectives of your role and what defines success? This is different at every organization, so it is important to figure out early. Also, think about what you have done in the past. Can you improve on this? In what ways?

4. Make sure to match your strategy to the situation. What kind of company are you going to work for? Is it a start-up, status quo, in transition, sustaining success? Each kind requires a different type of approach by you as a new leader.

No matter what you do, make sure that you are ready to jump right in the day you walk in the door. What are you doing to get ready to wow them at your new job?


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