If you are one of the 52% of workers who are considering a job change this year or the 44% (Fast Company) who have plans in place, then you need a plan for your first 30 days on the new job. The first days of a new job are a whirlwind of meet and greet, learning new systems, and getting a handle on projects. Having a plan for your first 30 days will keep you focused on what is really important.
Top 10 Things to Do in Your First 30-Days
- Listen. Really listen. The job interview is over, so no need to continue to promote yourself. Listen to EDO leadership, staff, elected, business, and community leaders about their goals, aspirations, and challenges. This is prime learning time for you.
- Spend time with your supervisor/board chair. Make sure the person you report to is in agreement with how you plan to spend your time. Alignment of expectations is key. The fastest way for a good economic developer to get fired is misalignment of expectations. We’ve seen it many times. The economic developer is doing a good job, but it is not the job their board expects of them. Spend time in the beginning discussing expectations for community involvement, time spent on BRE vs. recruitment, who leads investor relations and fundraising, etc.
- Spend time with staff. Offsite meetings are often more comfortable. Get to know your staff and their expertise, skills, and contributions. You’ll be able to develop work plans that leverage their abilities.
- Get the status on key projects. The first 30 days is a time to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. It is NOT a time to launch big, new ideas.
- Understand the money. Dive into the finances to make sure you understand the current budget, funding sources/commitments, financial planning process, oversight process, etc. Make sure you do not have any surprises such as having to raise next year’s budget in three months.
- Read and discuss studies and plans the EDO has completed as well as plans of key partners. You’ll be ‘in the know’ about the latest projects and planned investments. Discuss the EDO’s strategic plan with your board chair/supervisor. Discuss the county land use plan with the county planner. Talk about the downtown master plan with the town manager and downtown development director.
- In consultation with your board chair/supervisor, make a list of the most important community, business, and elected leaders you should get to know and start setting appointments. Be realistic in how many people you can meet with and still carry out your 30-day plan. Don’t overbook yourself.
- Reach out to regional and state allies to learn how the different levels of economic development interact and where your EDO fits in.
- Refuse to join all civic and nonprofit boards for at least six months. Economic developers often get asked to join local boards to provide perspective on the economy and workforce. Spend some time figuring out what groups are most important to you personally and professionally before you commit.
- Set the work-life boundaries you want. From the get-go, make clear if you will/will not answer the phone from anyone and everyone at 8pm. If you will/will not be available on weekends. It is hard to change a pattern once established but easy in the beginning when you are the one establishing the pattern.
The first 30-days is a time to learn, align expectations, and set the stage. Be strategic with your time and intentions. It will pay off over the many years you spend in this job.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out this article “The Secret Sauce to a Long Career in Economic Development- Advice from the Best”