On the very first day at a job, I was in a meeting where people were complaining about the acoustics in the room. I got up, walked out into the hallway and brought the fake ficus tree into the corner of where we were gathered. It wasn’t perfect, but it went a long way in doing two things: 1) it did help with the sound bounce and 2) it signaled to the staff that actions were valued more than complaints.
When you are new — whether in a new job, in a new role or even on a new committee — it is important to do things early in your tenure that result in visible changes. They don’t have to be monumental, but a series of small improvements sends a loud and clear message that change is a good thing. During my first 100 days on the job, I compiled a list of the 100 things that we had done differently. It was a great way to step back and reflect over the first few months and show people that improvements were happening.
Often it takes some time learning and strategizing for impact to be made on the really big projects that you face. That work is essential, but so is continuing the momentum that comes with a person in a new role. Don’t let the initial energy fade while you are working behind the scenes. Instead, be sure you start with actions people can point to. The short-term visible changes will reassure you and others that good things are happening because of your presence.
[For an extensive resource in this area, see The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins]