For most organizations, individuals starting a new job have 90 days to prove themselves. What happens during this critical time can make or break your career.
Your goal is to get as rapidly as possible to the break-even point. This is the point at which you have contributed as much value to the organization as you have consumed from it. Putting together a successful strategy for getting to this point, and accelerating past it, is key to your transition.
One of the most well known, yet least practiced principles of success is the need to prepare. Regardless of the pursuit, if you want to succeed and feel the thrill that comes from winning (however you define ‘winning’), you need to prepare ahead of time. As the marathon runner Juma Ikanga said after winning the New York Marathon: “The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare.” You can want to win more than anyone else in the world; yet if you do not want to put in the work to prepare, it will not matter.
When you consider successful leaders whom you admire, and think about what they did to achieve greatness, it may seem like things come easily to them. Over time, no doubt things do come more easily. However, most if not all great leaders have learned this truth spoken eloquently by Vince Lombardi: “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” So the next time you are contemplating why things seem to come easy for others, just remember they most likely spent a lot of time somewhere along the way preparing for what they are accomplishing today.
The Product Management Perspective: Product managers face an interesting challenge: they are responsible for the success of their products, yet the people they rely on to get their products successfully out the door do not (usually) report to them. This situation lends itself to planning and preparation. Take the time upfront to prepare, and do the work necessary to make your products successful.
This morning while reading IBD, a favorite source of information, I reread the 10 Secrets To Success (they print the ten traits and highlight one each day). The fifth secret highlights the need to be persistent and work hard; “success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up” it states.
Persistence is one of the key characteristics of great leaders. Gaining it requires determination; a mindset that no matter what you will stick to your principles and goals. Having run three marathons I have found that the key is preparation; it’s what you do leading up to the race that determines how well it goes. It’s the consistent and persistent training that determines how well you run a marathon. Where running marathons is concerned, however, real success comes not from preparing and running ‘a’ marathon, but from continued training, learning and determination. It’s the continuation of marathons that becomes the marathon.
Achieving success requires a continuation of effort. We all experience ‘marathons’ along the way to success where we exert increased effort to finish a big project; we do not pat ourselves on the back because we have arrived. We may (and should) take time to celebrate after achieving successes on projects, but the next day we get up and go back to ‘training’ for the next project big project, just like we would train for the next race. It’s the continuation of successes that becomes the success.