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6 Goals For Your First 6 Months

Starting a new position is an exciting new journey. With so much to learn and think about as you transition to your new role, be sure to focus on the first 6 months on the job. The years ahead will thank you.

I am wrapping up my first 6 months at my current role. I am blessed to serve as Director of Communication at a growing church in Indianapolis, Indiana. I get to lead communications and the communication team as we serve 3 congregations around the Indy metro.

The past 6 months have been the fastest 6 months of my life (we also added our third daughter to the mix in August)! I suspect your first 6 months on the job has been or will be a similar experience (minus the third daughter). As I look back over the past several months, I have had personal and professional goals met and missed. That’s ok. What is not ok is living your first 6 months on the job without goals. The following months and years of your tenure may very well depend on how successful your first 6 months were on the job.

Below are 6 priorities or goals for your first 6 months:

1. Build relationships with purpose

Marcus Lemonis has coined the phrase, People, Process, Product. Without a focus on and investment in people, your process and product, no matter how good, cannot succeed.

Your first 6 months is vital in building lasting relationships with your co-workers and organizational leaders. The longer you don’t know someone in your organization, the harder it will be to break the ice and have a meaningful work relationship. There is a lot of grace given in your first 6 months in regards to meeting people, learning their names, roles, etc. Take advantage of this window of grace.

2. Learn and adopt common processes

Every organization has a different way of doing certain things. This matters. Be sure to learn all the processes related to your area of work but also outside your area of work. This will help you to hit the ground running and endear you to co-workers. Early adoption of processes shows you are a team player.

3. Learn and adopt the organization’s behavior culture

Similar to learning and adopting common processes, learning and adopting the organization’s behavior culture is very helpful, especially in your first 6 months. Be careful in discerning in what behavior you adopt. No organization has a 100% batting average on behavior. Your fresh eyes will be helpful in noticing unhelpful patterns of behavior (i.e. tardiness, meetings after meetings, putting sugar and cream in coffee, etc.). Additional reading: Check out this list of Culture Code quotes from Daniel Coyle.

4. Take notes, take notes, take notes

This was a miss for me. I have should have taken more notes my first 6 months on the job. Learn from my mistake! As a new hire, you will be privy to all kinds of insight from co-workers and leaders, most of which will never be said to you again. Capture everything! As you finish out your first year, revisiting notes from the first 6 months will help you navigate different tasks and relationships as you go forward.

5. Identify and record broken processes, behavior, etc.

Good leaders love new hires. One of the reasons is because new hires have fresh eyes. New people see processes and deliverables in ways current staff cannot. Companies often pay big bucks for consultants to come in and offer fresh eyes. Think of yourself as that consultant!

Take notes of anything you see that is broken or could be better. Ask lots of questions about why things are done in certain ways. Remember, you are in a 6 month grace period with staff. Ask now or forever hold your peace. Your fresh eyes begin to fade dramatically after 6 months as you begin to fully adopt the good and bad of organizational culture and behavior. Deliver your notes to your supervisor and have a meeting about what all you captured during your first 6 months. She will thank you for it.

6. Set goals for next 6 months

Finally, set goals and focus on the rest of your first year. Your first year on the job will likely go by very fast. By setting goals and being intentional in various areas of development, you can raise your value to the organization and simply be a better team member/leader. To quote Patrick Lencioni, “If you’re not interested in getting better, it’s time for you to stop leading.”

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