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3 Actions to Help You Transition into a New Role

Updated: Sep 28

You did it! You have been working towards a new role, and now you have it. The excitement of the opportunity is starting to wear off, and reality is beginning to set in. You are now in a role that you have never done before, and despite all of the knowledge and experience you gained to get the role, you need to build new skills, competencies, and relationships to be effective in this new role.

man shaking a woman's hand at a desk
Starting a new role

Call it stress, anxiety, or uncertainty, but the feelings you have right now are not uncommon in new leaders. The keys to overcoming these feelings are identifying what you need to know to be successful and developing a plan to help you grow into your new role.

Use the SET Approach to Transition into a New Job

In this article, I will share the study, engage, and teach (SET) approach for transitioning into a new role.

  1. What do you need to study?

  2. Who do you need to engage?

  3. What you need to teach

What do you need to study?

Knowledge is the key to success. When you start in a new role, your biggest challenge is your lack of knowledge. To address this challenge, you must study your current situation and understand what it will take to be successful. The few pieces of information you must understand are the: ·

  • What is the role?

  • Who is on your team?

  • What does success look like?

  • What resources can you use?

There is a lot to learn and a short amount of time to get up to speed, so you want to be intentional about prioritizing information gathering.

There are three primary ways that you can learn new information. You can

As you develop your plan, it is crucial to incorporate all three into your approach.

woman and man reviewing financial statements
Know your goals


You should spend some time reading information about your new role. This includes internal information such as business plans, job descriptions, educational literature, company policies, previous employee performance reviews, and other documents that will help you understand your role's current situation and prior successes and failures.

The more you know the history of the position, the less likely you will be to repeat the mistakes made by previous leaders. In addition, you should allocate time to read outside resources related to your role, company, and industry. Many times, innovation comes from ideas that exist outside of the company. By benchmarking performance and learning best practices from different companies, you will have a better idea of what changes you can make to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your new team.

Man with coffee sitting with another man having a conversation
Schedule one on one meetings


As you move into a new role, you should spend a large portion of your time meeting with people, asking questions, and listening with the intent of understanding. Customers, employees, peers, supervisors, and vendors can provide valuable information on your organization's history and role.

In addition, they can provide insight into what things are going well and what could be improved. By collecting this information, you will better understand the current situation and be able to develop strategies to improve the business.

Two man standing in front of a room. Group of 20 people clapping for them.
Learn culture of organization

During the first 30 days, you should do your best not to make significant changes that would negatively impact developing relationships with your new team or customers. Your impulse might be to address opportunities that you see immediately. This can be counterproductive. If you make changes before fully understanding the current situation, you risk damaging relationships with key stakeholders.

During your first 30 days, your focus should be on building relationships, understanding expectations, and learning about the role. Initially, you should do your best to maintain the status quo to understand what is currently working and what can be improved.

Change can be challenging for people, and when you change too many things too fast, you are more likely to face resistance. Take things slowly at first to build the rapport and credibility necessary to ensure that when you start to make changes, people trust you enough to support your changes.

Black executive sitting at a desk, talking to a women and a man
Make time to build relationships

Who do you need to engage?

Leadership is all about servicing others. When you take on the role of a leader, you take on the responsibility of guiding people's professional lives. Those who follow you share their time and energy to support your direction.

They are willing to do this because they believe supporting your direction will help them achieve their desired ends. As a leader, the best way to gain influence is to understand the goals of those around you. With this information, you can develop strategies and tactics that help people achieve their goals while also supporting the company's goals.

Identifying the key groups of people that can influence your job performance and seeking opportunities to talk with these individuals and groups is essential. Some common groups that can impact your performance are:

  • Employees

  • Customers

  • Peers

  • Leaders within organization

  • Outside organization stakeholders

Taking the time to have group and one-on-one discussions with these stakeholders will help you understand the needs and desires of those you serve.

One woman standing at a white board, two women sitting at a desk
Tell your story

What do you need to teach?

Your last big focus is what you will teach people about you. When you move into a new role, your direct reports, peers, boss, customers, and other stakeholders' most significant questions are:

  • Who is this person?

  • What impact will they have on me?

  • How do I best work with them?

During the first 30 days, your mission is to make it as easy as possible for key stakeholders to get to know who you are and what you are about.

You can do this by setting aside time in meetings to share your work history, professional goals, and a bit about your personal life. Sharing details about your family, values, and personal mission can help you to connect with others on a human level. This level of sharing will go a long way to helping you build the initial foundation for trust.

Best Practice

Develop a PowerPoint slide or "about me" page that you review during group meetings or one-on-one introductions. This document should include your

  • educational background

  • previous experiences

  • special interests

  • something personal but appropriate about yourself.

If you have a leadership philosophy, you should also share that during meetings.

Once you have shared this information, provide time for questions and encourage people to contact you after the meeting to learn more about you. As you settle into your new role, you want to clarify who you are, what you stand for, and your interest in building professional relationships with stakeholders.


A new job can be exciting and stressful. To get off to a successful start, you need to be deliberate in how you are spending your time. Your top priorities are building relationships and learning about the role. This can be best done by following the SET approach. You have one chance to make a first impression. Take the time to identify what you need to study, who you need to engage with, and what you need to teach others about yourself.

Recommended Book

The First 90 Days, Updated and Expanded (


Thank you for reading this blog

Dorian Cunion is an Executive Business Coach with Your Path Coaching and Consulting. He is a former retail executive with over 20 years of experience in the retail industry. He is a Co-Active coach who focuses on helping professionals and small business owners overcome insecurities, knowledge gaps, and lack of direction. He does this by assisting clients to tap into their values, recognize their strengths, and develop actionable strategies for growth.

Black Executive Coach
Executive Coach Dorian Cunion

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