Whether you’ve moved companies or you have just been promoted within a business to a managerial position, it’s important that you use your first 100 days wisely and efficiently. When you’re new to a job or position it’s a given that it takes time for you to settle in – it takes time for you to familiarise yourself with colleagues, junior employees and the job role itself. During your first 100 days you need to do four things: Observe, think, plan and “do”. On paper it looks pretty simple, but in practice it’s anything but easy.

Observation and thinking

When you’re thrust into life as a manager, the first thing you need to be doing is to observe what’s going on around you. In the words of Sam Aruti over at CIO.com:

“Stop and listen. Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken yet.“

There are a couple of reasons why it’s important to observe: You need to become familiar with employees and people you’re going to be working with, you need to be familiar with the role that you’re going to be conducting, and you need to be looking for areas where you think you can “make your mark” and encourage improvement.

The thinking phase during your first 100 days shouldn’t be spent locked away in a dark room. You can do your thinking at your desk, or even when you’re out and about observing. There are lots of things you need to think about: How are you going to get to know your new staff? How will you determine what management style is going to be suited to who? What areas are you planning on improving, and how will you go about implementing those improvements?

Planning and “doing”

Planning during your first 100 days is important – you need to bring all of your thoughts together and everything you’ve observed. It’s then a case of planning ahead for the next 100 days (or three months, if you prefer). It’s good to plan for the immediate future as well as a year or two ahead – long term goals help to establish direction and momentum – it’s then up to you to ensure that these are communicated to your workforce.

When you’ve spent ample time observing, thinking and planning, you can then start the “doing” phase. Managers may have more than one think/plan/do cycle to negotiate and consider: You might have identified several areas you’d like to improve such as punctuality, productivity, general staff attitudes and so on – these will require different courses of action and different cycles to influence them for the better.

It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to “doing” – so why not pull out your list of goals and work on them? If you planned properly you should have a clear discourse to follow that will help you to manage your employees and take them on a journey to hitting those targets and reaching those objectives.

The first 100 days in any job are particularly stressful, certainly more so if you’re in a managerial position. Typically employees don’t like to see managers standing around with their arms folded, but your first few weeks are perhaps the only time they’ll excuse you for doing so. Make sure you take advantage of this opportunity during your early days in the job, spend that time having one to one chats with your new employees so you can get to know them, and they can get to know you. One final thing for you to remember is that first impressions really count – so make sure you give off the best possible impression from the outset.