For a successful start in basketball, getting to the championship game starts back in the locker room, on the first day of practice, before you even lace up your shoes. Once the ball goes up in the air and the clock starts, victory hinges on what you bring to the game and whether you can unite the team.

Just like positions in basketball, when you are chosen for a management role – whether in your current company or a new one – you were picked because the “coaches” know you have the talent and capabilities necessary to help build a winning season.

Here are ten tips for a successful start with your new career move:

1. There’s no “I” in TEAM

Games can’t be won without support. Connections are everything in the fast-moving, often-isolated workforce of today. Develop a mindset that prioritises networking because the need for allies, advocates and even favours is inevitable. What’s more, CEB says that companies now view “Network Performance” (“contributions to the performance of others”) as equal in importance to individual, task-based contributions. Even Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson to win his six NBA championships.

2. Jump out fast and get into a rhythm

Be intentional about launching into your new role, and make meaningful connections quickly.

3. Preparation is paramount

Just like practising skills on the court, day in and day out, and visualising play execution before a game, read up on your new responsibilities, the state of the business, and the issues with which you’ll be faced before you set foot in your role. Identify the latest technologies, lines of thinking and trends related to the position so that you can be a leader within your organisation and your industry.

4. Get back on defence

Regardless of whether you just scored or turned the ball over, get back on defence. Forget about any mistakes, and don’t slow down.

5. Keep the ball moving

by realising that sometimes your teammates can help you score, even if you’re not always handling the ball. Identify who can fill voids to make positive moves that advance your team’s goals.

6. Celebrate your wins

and encourage your team members – it gives you strength, too! Expand your impact and results by cheering on those within your network, even if they’re not currently on your team.

7. See the floor

Become aware of your organisational context, including the hierarchy of relevant stakeholders and patterns of influence. Seek to navigate these relationships for your benefit skillfully and achieve optimal team performance. Within almost every organisation, people’s ability to do their work effectively is impacted by their relationships with other individuals, teams, and groups.

8. Identify team captains

and empower them with the ability to weigh in on important decisions. Place your focus on “opinion leaders” who can help influence and drive a positive and impactful culture.

9. Cross-functional collaboration

For athletes, cross-training is a great way to avoid burnout and build new strengths. Similarly, cross-functional collaboration can make you and your teammates more agile. It also generates creative ideas, such as new ways to meet business targets. Additionally, embracing and encouraging work-life balance is key to ensuring all team members reach their peak performance on the job.

10. Prioritise health

Great players know that spending hours on the court requires fuel and rest; before and after…even the best players need time to recharge. In the past, taking on a new role often equated to over-indexing on work, with no balance or attention paid to health and well-being – not anymore!  To be successful, prioritise your health, as well as the health of those around you. “Load management” isn’t code for lazy; it’s a recipe for success.

Remember that a game isn’t won with a single shot, and a season isn’t won in a single game…it takes sure footing along the way. For a successful start,  executives amidst on-boarding manage their boundaries and leverage their networks to create mutual wins for all.

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Leigh Ann Errico founded LAeRRICO & partners in 2007. An organizational psychologist, executive and team coach, advisor, and consultant, she focuses on increasing workplace productivity and employee well-being, Executive Development, Individual and Team Coaching, and Leadership Strategy Consulting. Adult Stages of Development, based on research from Harvard and Dr. Suzanne Cook-Greuter, is the cornerstone of her practice.

Leigh Ann has specialized in successfully managing Human Capital for more than 20 years. She recently drove transformation as VP of HR with global pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo. Earlier she served as VP of HR for Schering Plough (now Merck).

Leigh Ann has achieved numerous certifications: 

Leadership Coaching Certification Program at Georgetown University
Health & Wellness Coaching Certification Program at Georgetown University (March 2021 completion anticipated)
Corentus Team Coaching Certification Program
Certified to administer The Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) for Emotional Intelligence with the Hay Group
Certified to administer the Team Conversational Norms Diagnostic Instrument
Studied under a Master Somatic Coach to harness the powers of Sensation, Breath, Voice, Mood and Center

Leigh Ann holds two Master’s degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University: Organizational Behavior Psychology and Corporate Communications. Her BA in English and Human Resources Management is from Salve Regina University.