Taking over a new role – 10 Questions you need to ask

I changed my assignment about 7 months ago, in quite an abrupt way, meaning I had to take over the job immediately, while keeping my old responsibilities for a while.

I fortunately had a proper and thorough takeover from my predecessor, and had the time to go through most of the key areas in my new job.

7 months down the road, I’m doing very well, although still learning. But the first month of my new role was the most difficult one, since I had to juggle many tasks and had difficult questions coming at me from Day 1. To top it up, in my second week I was confronted with a very complex case that needed to be solved on the spot. Sometimes you don’t have the luxury to plan ahead.

But even so, take an hour and look over this list.

What helped:

1. Reading The first 90 days” by Michael Watkins, a brilliant book, which explains most things you need to take into consideration when you’re changing your role – at any level of an organization.

2. Preparing my own set of questions to go through.

10 Questions to ask when taking over a new role:

1. What is the purpose of this role? (to innovate, to consult, to administer, to maintain [SOMETHING].)

2. What is this [SOMETHING]? – i.e. the most critical area of your role, the most visible and the one that will generate the most results.

3. What are the main customers of your role?

4. How are you measured? Figures, facts, not fluffy words.

5. How well prepared is your team? What are the areas where you need to invest?

6. What is the first area you need to get trained on?

7. What are key influencers you need to establish relationships with?

8. How will you make sure feedback reaches you ?

9. How much time are you willing to invest in this new role?

10. How will you ensure your personal balance during the first months?
Do you have any experiences with taking over new roles? What are the areas you focused on at that time?

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  • Mugur
    January 26, 2010

    multumesc, Mer! Am sa folosesc intrebarile tale chiar curand. Voi citi si cartea, intamplator o am de la Beb. Succes!

  • Maria
    January 26, 2010

    Multumesc Mugur, thanks for dropping by! :)
    Cu ce ocazie o sa folosesti intrebarile? Any change coming up?

  • Mugur
    February 14, 2010

    Cu ceva intarziere.. da, in curand voi schimba rolurile (voi ramane tot in IBM).

    O intrebare pe care as adauga-o listei, o combinare a intrebarilor 3 si 4:
    3. What are the main customers of your role?
    4. How are you measured? Figures, facts, not fluffy words.

    3 & 4. Who will be influenced by your performance? (e.g. you might working in sales of a specific brand, obviously the P&L holder of that brand is directly interested to see you succeed in the new role therefore he would be someone important on your stakeholder map).

  • Maria
    February 15, 2010

    Nice add-on question, Mugur! Multumesc!

  • Chicago Blues CD
    May 19, 2010

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  • Daniel Rose
    December 12, 2010

    Thanks Maria,
    I know this article is older, but I just found it. I’d not heard of that book before, but it looks interesting so I will check it out.
    .-= Daniel Rose´s last blog ..Maximise your business value- before it’s time to sell =-.

  • Maria
    December 15, 2010

    Thank you Daniel!
    Yes, you should, it’s a major helper! I read it two times – once when I initially discovered, it, two years ago, and even did a short sharing presentation to my colleagues, and recently, after my career change. It’s very useful because one way or another, you’re either in a transition yourself, or could help someone else near you who is struggling with a change.

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