You have just started your role as a senior security leader in a new organization. After having gone through an extensive interview and evaluation process, both you and your new employer likely start this relationship feeling very positive about the future. Often the messages you received from senior leadership throughout the process surrounds a need to build upon existing processes and innovate new programs for the future.

How you engage and execute in these first 90 days is critical in laying the groundwork for how you are perceived. Ultimately, your early words, actions and choice of priorities will be an accurate predictor of your future success. A common mistake that will lead to failure occurs when a new leader comes into an organization and tries to execute with a structured plan, one they have predetermined without stakeholder involvement.

Before you start your first day, map out the framework and action plan for onboarding to your new organization. If human resources or your hiring managers have not discussed any formal process, you should start that discussion in advance. Plan activities will involve people, products and process and should include:

  • Expand your knowledge of the organization’s structure, products and services.
  • Spend time with your new boss to align expectations, business planning and communication expectations. Find out if there are any immediate areas of concern that you can quickly address.
  • Meet with the leadership team and other key stakeholders you will be supporting. This is very much a listening and information gathering effort. It will serve as the underpinning in the development of needed relationships and affords them the opportunity to get to know you.
  • Get to know your direct reports and the services the security function provides. This is also a part of your capability assessments and bench strength evaluations (basically, a SWOT analysis). Set follow-up meetings to discussion adaptation processes.
  • Learn who the company’s external customers are and what your organization’s expectations are for the security department’s relationships with them.
  • Learn the organization’s business culture and the values they consider part of their core. Connect with those who can best interpret the organizational culture.
  • Get to know the company’s business process and how to work with them. This will afford you the opportunity to development relationships with the supporting functions that are needed for all organizations to function.
  • Determine which functions and who in the organization has accountability for the various security risk related areas. In today’s decentralized and/or matrixed organizations, rarely are all aspects of security owned by a single group.

In the best of circumstances, taking on a new job is stressful and exciting at the same time. How you navigate your new organization, build trusted relationships, manage a new culture, instill confidence and deliver on the expectations during your first 90 days is paramount to you and your career success.