Congratulations!\u00a0 You\u2019re about to start that new IT leadership job you\u2019ve worked so hard to get.\u00a0\nYou may have read my earlier post about whether to accept the offer, and you\u2019ve made the decision to move forward.\nYou\u2019re now mentally transitioning and seeing yourself in your new role.\u00a0 As excited as you are, you\u2019re probably nervous about getting started and making a positive impression.\u00a0 You have some perspective about the challenges ahead and perhaps some ideas on how you might approach them.\nBut before you jump in too quickly, read the rest of this post.\u00a0 It may save you from limiting your success and possibly derailing your career.\nYou\u2019ve landed on Mars\nStarting in a new IT leadership role, especially in a different company, can be a stressful time in your life.\u00a0 You\u2019re stepping into an unfamiliar world where everything is different:\u00a0 the people, the culture, and the challenges.\u00a0 Even the industry and technologies may be new to you.\nAnd during this time you are under a microscope: your new manager is keenly watching your performance. Your team members are making judgments about your leadership abilities.\u00a0 Your business partners and other stakeholders are expecting you to deliver solutions to solve their business problems.\nYet it is critical that you make the best impression right away.\u00a0 These first few months can shape your success at the company; and may have a lasting impact on your career.\nWhat have you done for me lately?\nThe problem I see with most IT leaders starting a new job is that they haven\u2019t given much thought to getting started and setting the stage for their success.\u00a0\nThey show up for that first day on the new job and quickly get sucked into putting out fires like dealing with chronic technical problems or managing people performance issues.\nBefore they realize it, 90 days have gone by and they have very little to show for it.\u00a0 Their manager wonders whether they made the right choice.\u00a0 Their team members have seen little in the way of strategic leadership. And while some technical or performance issues may have been made better, these may not have been the right priorities for the new IT leader to focus on \u2013 so the business stakeholders are feeling doubtful about this new leader\u2019s credibility.\nYou need a plan\nStarting a new IT leadership role without having a startup plan in place is a sure recipe for disaster.\u00a0 Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days, remarked:\n\nLeaders, regardless of their level, are most vulnerable in their first few months in a new position. They lack detailed knowledge of the challenges they will face and what it will take to succeed in meeting them.\n\nYou need to have an onboarding plan that addresses the key things that are going to make you successful.\nOwn and drive your success\nSo what goes into your 90-day onboarding plan?\u00a0 A lot of great advice has been written on this topic; but not necessarily from the perspective of an IT leader.\u00a0\nI\u2019ve listed below a number of important goals you'll want to focus on during your first 90 days. I\u2019ll be delving into these areas in upcoming posts.\u00a0\n\nListen, learn, and validate: conduct information interviews across your sphere of influence. Document and validate your findings. Be sure to acknowledge the positive and identify areas for improvement.\nFocus on the people: get to know your team; build relationships with your business partners and other stakeholders; understand the politics and power bases.\nAssess your personal strengths and weaknesses: evaluate the strengths you bring to this new role and how you can leverage them to drive your success.\u00a0 Identify where you need to shore up your technical, leadership, or business knowledge and create a strategy to quickly get up to speed.\nAsk for feedback: don\u2019t assume anything! Be sure to ask for constructive feedback from your manager, direct reports, business partners, and other stakeholders.\u00a0 This feedback will help you realize your strengths and weaknesses, so that you can make necessary adjustments.\nFind mentors and allies: you can\u2019t go this alone.\u00a0 You need support and guidance from people who are going to have your back.\u00a0 One place to start is to ask your manager who would be good mentors for you and start building relationships with those people.\nFind and deliver a meaningful quick win: your informational interviews are sure to uncover issues or opportunities that would deliver a quick win for you and your team. You want to make sure this quick win is important to your business partners or other stakeholders, and that you can successfully deliver on your promise. Not only will this quick win build confidence within your team, it will also make your manager look good and gain the respect of your business constituents.\n\nIf you\u2019ve recently started a new IT leadership job, what one piece of advice can you give other people in a similar situation?