Starting a New Job? Here’s How You Can Build Credibility in 90 Days

By: Miriam Grobman

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You may be starting a new job or moving to a new role within your company. The first 90 days are critical for building your credibility with others and setting yourself up for success. I would like to share with you the following story about how Elena built her credibility as the new director of sales at a FinTech company.

Building Credibility in Your First 90 Days on the Job

After more than 10 years at a highly reputable bank, Elena decided to take a sales director role at a fast-growing FinTech company. She needed to hit the ground running and quickly build credibility with her new team, her peers and company’s leadership, as well as with clients.

She proceeded to build relationships with each one of the above stakeholders, using the ask. listen. do approach.

Peers / Senior leadership: Elena scheduled one-on-one meetings where she emphasized the credentials she was hired for (previous experience, the brand name bank she used to work for) and looked for common acquaintances to build rapport. She focused on studying the needs and styles of other department heads and her bosses and then presented the value she was hoping to deliver to them through her new role, asking for their feedback. She also asked for their views about the previous interactions with her team and listened and promised to address any issues. Later on, she followed up on the issues discussed: she shared them with her team and made sure to address the points that were valid or negotiate the differences of opinion. For example, when the CFO highlighted there was an issue with a client’s pricing, she went on to renegotiating the contract and informed him of the positive resolution of the issue.

[Related: First Week at a New Job? Get to Know Your Team!]

Subordinates: With her team, Elena chose the path of empathy, offering her help in resolving any issues they may have. She scheduled one-on-ones with each team member, including the interns, to discuss their experience so far, their career goals, next steps and how she could help them achieve their goals. She helped them reflect and set development goals and later rearranged the team’s responsibilities and structure based on the feedback. With time, the team also got to watch her perform in meetings and recognize her new approach and leadership methods. She also made sure to understand their pain points and treat failure as a team, and not point fingers whenever anyone made a mistake. As a result of this, in the most recent corporate climate employee survey, Elena’s department had the highest engagement levels of all other departments.

[Related: How to Lead in Times of Change]

Clients: With clients, Elena had less time to spend on building deep relationships. She therefore had to take another approach by:

  • Focusing on establishing credentials upfront, by connecting with the clients before the meeting on LinkedIn so that they can see her background and common connections. She also introduced herself, sharing her background and current title of Sales Director.
  • Researching the history of the relationship before each meeting by discussing any previous issues with her team and any complaints the client had made in the past and therefore, knew in advance whether the client was happy or not.
  • Leading with a question: “We’ve had this partnership with you for five years now, how do you feel it’s going?” Most of the time Elena knew already what they would say but she wanted to give the clients space to voice their concerns and feel heard. Then she worked with them on next steps and addressed any issues that came up.

With this Ask. Listen. Doapproach, Elena had managed to not only meet but exceed her sales goals by 5%, within only 6 months of joining the company.

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Miriam Grobman is the founder of Miriam Grobman Consulting who provides strategic advisory and leadership development solutions to companies who want to advance more talented women into leadership roles. She is also the creator of the Influence Masterclass and the Executive Presence Lab leadership courses for women.

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