Whose Job Are You Working On?

Unless you’ve given up on your career or feel that you have plateaued, the idea of getting promoted remains a driving force behind your day-to-day performance. Conventional wisdom and some empirical data suggest that the first ninety days in a new job are critical in determining if you are going to experience a ‘hard or soft landing’. Other salient factors include whether the promotion is internal or the result of moving to another company/organization.

For example, being internally promoted has its challenges. You are a known commodity in your organization. Still, your colleagues, nonetheless, have formed an opinion on your strengths and weaknesses. Being a member of the tribe, so to speak, is a double-edged sword. Put bluntly, people know you. Your body of work and your management style are public knowledge. On the other hand, if you’ve landed a higher-level job in a new company, you are an unknown commodity–except for the information your new colleagues might have picked up on you via contacts at your former company.

One arrives at a new place without the benefit of what I call ‘relationship equity’.  Relationship equity is the value that comes from knowing and working with others. The problem is that ‘relationship equity’ does not transfer to your next company–you earn it.  Again, per research, you have 90 days to start building this type of equity with your new colleagues.

In addition to building relationship equity, figuring out how to efficiently transition from the old job to the new one is critical. Regardless of whether the promotion is internal or to another company, the crucial question is “Whose job are you working on?” This issue is important because too often promotions are based on how well you did your previous job. In going through my files, I came across a document [ Author Unknown  ]that asked six questions to help determine the answer to “Whose job are you working on?”

The following six questions should be asked and answered by anyone recently promoted:

  1. Are you working on your own (new) job or the jobs of your subordinates?
  2. Are you working on your present job or the jobs you used to have?
  3. Are you preparing yourself for yesterday or tomorrow?
  4. Are you becoming better at your present job or your old job?
  5. Are you concentrating on important matters which make you a high potential leader/manager or on routine matters which lessens your potential?
  6. Have you already been where you’re going?

In summary, the mindset you bring to the new job is essential to improving your probability of success. To keep progressing your career, focus on adding value to the new job and not living off the laurels of your old job. Finally, employ processes like the New Leader Assimilation process developed at Alcoa Aluminum.



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