The President of the United States has 100 days to make a stellar first impression. 100 days sets the tone and trajectory for their entire four-year term and Presidential legacy. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the bar for running full steam ahead during the first 100 days of the Presidential term. He took the helm in 1932 during the Great Depression and swiftly acted passing 76 laws meant to alleviate the economic pains America was enduring.
As each new President is sworn in, the world prepares to analyze every teeny move that is or isn’t made and which meetings and relationships are or aren’t prioritized. As those 100 days come to an end, all major media outlets publish a roundup and analysis of the President’s accomplishments and strides that are (or aren’t) made. We all judge away.
You don’t have the whole world watching you, but you have ten days less than the President to make a bang during your first quarter as a new Account Manager (AM). (Congrats by the way!) Your first 90 days are critical and may be scary, but these three months are also exciting and an opportunity for you to prove yourself and demonstrate that you are the same rock star who interviewed like a pro.
First impressions matter. You need to come prepared and focused to build credibility and trust from your boss, colleagues and clients.
Identify Your Challenges That Lay Ahead:
- Is this industry new to you?
- Are you moving to a new business unit within your existing company?
- Is this a new position or a role that you are inheriting?
- Is this your first time as an Account Manager?
- What hard and soft skills do you need to develop for your role?
Treat Your Boss Like a #BOSS
Your boss’ advice, opinion and buy in are key to your success. Make sure to have a meeting on your first day or week to clarify expectations, goals, to set regular meetings and generally establish how to communicate.
Prepare agendas for your check ins but also take advantage of this one-on-one time to build your relationship.
Get to know your boss personally and professionally as you would a client. Find out what is on their plate and ask how you can help them with their work. Ask your boss who you need to know and who are the important stakeholders.
Prepare for those initial meetings. Create a set of questions in advance to ask fellow employees and a separate set of questions for your clients.
Ask questions, plenty of them! Clarity is key if you want to accomplish what is wanted and needed. Don’t be bashful. This is not a time to be shy. (Is it ever?)
Create a Game-Plan
Review the job description and pull out all items and responsibilities specific to your role, departments, personalities, tools, etc. Then make sure that those are integrated into your charted game plan.
Make SMART goals. SMART stands for
Defining your goal with SMART parameters encourages focus and thoughtful outcomes. Set SMART, ambitious yet achievable goals for each month of the quarter for:
- Performance KPIs
- Professional development
- Relationship building
- Client Goals
Setting goals (and knocking them out of the park) allows you to prove to your boss and company of your value added. Set new goals quarterly. Setting expectations is a great way to have your own back and maintain focus on what is most important considering your big picture and day-to-day responsibilities.
It will be easier to accomplish all the goals you identified by breaking them down into monthly goals. Here is what you should focus on each month:
First 30 Days: Get your feet wet. Become familiar with your new space and confirm roles, responsibilities and expectations. Meet your clients and establish gravitas with them and your peers at work. This is your chance to ask away so that you can forge ahead smoothly in the future. There are no stupid questions in your first month! Try to get a feel for how the company and individuals operate. You want to know everyone’s preferences, strengths, weaknesses, and needs.
Days 30-60: Develop strategy, start pulling in smaller fish wins, and build relationships internally and with clients. Spend time researching your clients, know them well and why they use you and should continue to do so. Develop list of current status quo, goals, strategies to get there, and clear measurable steps and goals to ensure that actions and impact are quantifiable.
Final Stretch: You made it this far! Because you rocked your first two months, you should be in great shape for the final thirty days of your first quarter. This month is key in proving your value added. Close out deals and build momentum. Make sure you have a plump pipeline ripe for your next quarter. Meet with your boss to review any successes large or small that you are proud of and feel have an impact on you, your work or the company.
What NOT To Do:
You don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot while executing everything laid out above. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid and ensure your success.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew: Be ambitious but be reasonable. It is better to overdeliver than underdeliver.
- Don’t be a know-it-all: You are the newbie. Don’t jump to assert opinions or solutions until you have the full picture and understand the norms and etiquette and various factors.
- Don’t just do what you have done before: Base your job on THIS job description. What worked in one setting and position may not work here. Come with an open mind.
- Do put people first: Relationships are golden. While you may be juggling many responsibilities, those relationships matter more than anything else.
US Presidential candidates have nothing on you after reading this piece! In all serious, you’ve got this. You know the tricks of the trade and have been preparing for this new gig. Your success will be all about your attitude of curiosity and being open to learning, growing, and hustle.
Just to be sure that you are good to go, feel free to take advantage of this checklist of questions to ask during those initial meetings to ensure that you have the right information and relationships to plan wisely.