How to not fail the 90 day test

Dave_Beagle_First_90_days.pngThe first three months of any new job – or big project – are critical. They set the pace for the days and months to come. They also begin to define the future for months or even years down the road. It’s more than the probationary period for employment. It’s your roadmap for the future.

Just like coaching any team, a great start is to get to know your players. That’s exactly how I viewed my first 90 days at Fonality. I set out with a bold goal: to improve how Fonality operates in our space by taking our Channel Program to the next level.

Over the 14 years’ experience I’ve had in unified communications (UC), I’ve had the pleasure of working at a couple of leading vendors in the space. My specialty in recent years has been on channel programs – including Managed Service Providers (MSP’s), Value-Added Resellers (VAR’s), and others looking to add UC and cloud VoIP to their portfolios. 

The reason this really matters? I know what a business phone service provider needs to thrive. Fonality is a great position – that’s what attracted me last year. And it’s why I’ve been working to apply my experience to achieve an even brighter future. I was recently reflecting on my first 90 days. Rather than just waxing nostalgic, I thought my approach – and what I learned as I got to know Fonality – might help you tackle a new role or a huge project, too. This being my first new job in many years, I went back to my old playbook.

5 moves to make in your first 90 days

  1. Look for the right kind of surprises. Where do you look for these? I like to listen and observe using that old adage of “two eyes, two ears…one mouth.” Take the time to discover who your partners are. You’re looking for who your partners are and what policies, processes, and programs support the organization as you go to market. Look to your product or products. This is the time you’re really getting to know what’s behind both you and your new company putting on your best face during the interview.

    When I arrived at my new job and got down to the details of our business plan, I found a lot of these surprises by following this step. The lesson here is to meet with everyone you can early on. Look around every corner and find those pleasant surprises. Then figure out how to make the most of them.

  2. Foster and build on a culture of excellence. It’s all about energy, attitude, and clear, concise communication. Keep your patience and get to know the opportunities in front of you. Let everyone know where you’re headed. Grand View Research estimates the global UC market will likely rise to around $75.81 billion by 2020, and I of course want my company to grab as much of that market as we possibly can. The only way to do that is to have a workforce that's excited and ready to win. I was extremely happy to find this at Fonality. If this isn’t part of your company’s culture, don’t give up. Find ways to foster that culture within your project team or work group.

  3. Expand into new channels. As an executive responsible for business development, I’m tasked with expanding the business into new channels and uncovering incremental revenue opportunities in order to accelerate our growth. But the power of this step applies to many roles whether your organization works with resellers, sells directly to other businesses, or serves consumers. There are always new revenue opportunities. This requires employees to view success through the entire company's perspective. Viewing the world through this lens – and not through individual triumphs – is a tough transition at many companies.

  4. Establish your rules of engagement. In any new job or project, I recommend developing clear rules of the road. That’s essential as you seek out new channels. The last thing I want is to create channel conflict. That means we’re going to need to a playbook in utilizing these avenues of business. This take a lot of hard work, as rooting out channel conflicts isn't exactly an easy job. Be sure your 90-day plan includes setting expectations everyone can work with and how they apply to their role.

  5. Don’t stop (but take some time to celebrate). As you wrap up your first 90 days, it’s important to evaluate how far you’ve gotten against goals. Don’t forget to toast your successes along the way. Keep up steady persistent pressure. Believe in what you are doing and celebrate successes. But then keep going. Don’t get caught up in the quick wins! This is the time you are drawing the map for the next three years. It’s just like following driving directions. If you make a mistake early, it’s much quicker to do a U-turn now than when you are many miles out of your way.

Now, if you’ll excuse me…I’ve got 2016 to look forward to!

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David Beagle
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