Getting the Balance Right: My First 90 Days

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I started my new job as General Manager of Chan & Naylor with a bang.  On my very first day, I flew to another city to attend a meeting of the Board and all the leaders of the firms which make up our nationwide network.  Lots of new faces and names to learn, lots of new information to absorb, a celebratory dinner to attend – let’s just say my first two days were exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure!

However, I’d have to say that two day trip has paid for itself tenfold since then.  Having met all of our leadership group in my early days has meant that I am not just a voice on the phone or a signature on an email to them now.  Instead, I am a real person, someone they have spoken with and can put a face to.  That means (I hope) that everyone is more open to talking to me about issues they may need my support to deal with, or about requests for help I may bring to them.

That leads me to my top tips from my first 90 days:

  • Tip 1 – Get to know the team: Taking the time to build relationships with my stakeholders, asking them lots of questions (and writing down the answers), learning who they are as people, and showing them who I am – all so important during my early days in this job.  Any success I have in future in this role will come from effective teaming – I know I can’t do it alone!
  • Tip 2 – Don’t rush in with too many ideas: I made a conscious effort not to be popping up with new ideas every day of the week, based on my experiences at other organisations.  Instead, I took the time to listen and listen again to be sure I’d understood the culture, the history and the politics behind the issues, noting down my ideas to come back to later on.
  • Tip 3 – Underpromise and overdeliver: This is a fundamental principle for success that is even more important during the early days in a new role.  I made a real effort during this time to become known by the team as someone who gets things done.  I hope this will mean I’ll have a reserve of trust with everyone to draw on in future, if and when I mess up.
  • Bonus tip – Take the time to mark the small milestones:  I believe in pausing for a moment to reflect and celebrate each step along the way, so today I brought in a box of cupcakes for my team to share.  That mindset helps me lift myself above the everyday ‘noise’ from time to time, to appreciate where I am today, and prepare for what’s coming tomorrow.
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So far, so good.  I’ve really enjoyed my first 90 days in this role, and fortunately I have had some positive feedback from the team on the impact I am starting to have on our organisation, which is very satisfying.

I’m already looking forward to tackling the challenges and successes I hope will come my way, starting next week!


Sarah Magarey

General Manager – Chan & Naylor Australia

Sarah Magarey

Disclaimer: This article contains general information. Before you make any financial or investment decision you should seek professional advice to take into account your individual objectives, financial situation and individual needs.

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