InMotion Consulting & Coaching

Deirdre Danahar – High Performing People and Team Coach| Consultant | Speaker

Helping busy professionals with complex lives
Expand their career potential
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Eight Traps That Can Derail a Career in the First 3 Months: Don’t Let the Honeymoon End Too Soon

Each year 25 percent of US workers experience a job transition (Society for Human Resources). Unfortunately, many of these transitions are not successful.  In fact, nearly half (46%) of outside senior hires fail within 18 months. 

And it happened to me too. 

Years ago I was hired to be the second in command at an organization. I was excited about the opportunity to be take on a new role in which my work experience, particular skill set and the outcomes I could point to in my previous roles and even educational background were perfect.  One paper the combination pointed to a rock solid, guarantee of success. In reality the experience was a mismatch. For me and the organization. By the second year year mark I left the position.

I learned from the experience.  And you can too.

You do not need to be a statistic. Here eight traps that can derail your career in the crucial first 3 months in a new role. Numbers 1, 4 and 5 were my snares.

1.     Failure to clarify expectations. A formal job description lists expectations, and there are expectations that aren’t put on paper. Be sure that you know what your leadership really expects from you.

2.     Failure to understand your new manager and his (or her) style and needs. The first 3 months is the best to build a strong relationship with your new manager. What makes him tick? What drives him nuts? How can you best adapt to his communication and decision-making style?

3.     Not building credibility and trust with employees. Each employee is different. The 3 months is an important time to assess your team, get to know the individual members and then lay strategies to engage employees.

4.     Aligning with the right players. In the first 3 months you have the opportunity to understand the informal power structure in the organization. Get to know you colleagues, your board and key clients.  Who are the up and comers? Who is on their way out?

5.     Being perceived as eccentric. Take time to learn the culture and fit in, without becoming someone you are not. You must balance being genuine while learning and applying the rules of engagement at your new organization or for your position.

6.     Taking abrupt action without taking the time to learn. Give yourself enough time to observe and understand why things are the way they are.  Ensure you have all of the information, know who holds power and where you can have the best first impact when making a change.

7.     Stepping on political landmines. Unless you are specifically expected to go after sacred cows in the organization, tread wisely during your first 100 days.

8.     Failure to continue to develop. As Marshall Goldsmith’s book title says, “What got you here won’t get you there.” Be humble enough to identify new skills, knowledge, and relationships that will help you continue to progress in your career, as you transition into a new role.

To learn more about making effective transitions, contact me Deirdre Danahar at or 601-362-8288, and be sure to download my free “100 Day Transition Assessment” tool by clicking here.

Copyright 2013-2015 by Deirdre Danahar; Images by Brice Media
InMotion Consulting and Coaching, Jackson MS, 601-362-8288