22nd February 2024

3 simple hacks to maximise job success

My 3 interesting things for you this month…

1. Starting a new job? Put away the hero cape!

When you start a new job it’s tempting to hit the ground running and quickly show people how awesome you are. BUT consider this first.

While fast impact is great, the initial 90 days in a new job are actually more crucial for laying the foundation of your long-term success.


Well, your next promotion isn’t dependent on your performance in that first 90 days, but your long term effectiveness in the job definitely is.

If you rush for immediate impact you set yourself up with problems. You set unrealistic expectations of yourself, may miss hidden insights, and limit your future growth potential.

Instead, embrace your “newbie” status! Use your first 90 days to ask silly questions you wouldn’t normally, be wrong about things, and actively connect with colleagues.

The best way to learn fast during this time is to meet and speak with as many people as possible. You can use these conversations to understand as much about the organisation, its people and its customers as you can.

Two tips to consider when you’re meeting people:

  • Be strategic about the order you meet people: Talk to junior colleagues first so you can ask basic questions about products, who’s who and what you need to know. Then leverage that knowledge for informed discussions with senior leaders.
  • Schedule before you start: Ask your manager to pre-book key meetings to maximise your learning opportunity. They might say, well, we can’t do that yet because you don’t have a calendar or an e-mail address, but ask that manager to do it from their email and transfer across. This will mean you’re making the most of your opportunity to meet people straight away rather than waiting another few weeks to get on busy people’s calendars.

Good luck if you’re starting a new role soon, I hope this helps!

2. How does this business work?

The following is something I did in every single one of my new jobs for the last 10 years.

I wanted to learn fast and make a quick impact, but to do that I had to understand the business.

For each new business unit or job, I put together a single page with a single formula of how the business operated in the simplest way. So for example:

Number of leads x Conversion x Price per unit x Retention rate = Revenue

I also added the key drivers of how the business makes either revenue or profit or both e.g. website traffic, marketing effectiveness, salespeople quality and training, pricing strategy, product quality etc.

Then below that, I added the actual numbers of the business. They don’t have to be precise numbers, you can use round numbers to make it easy to remember.


For example:

974,854 x 1.839% x £104.34 x 84.43% = £1,579.315.61


1M X 2% x £100 x 80% = £1.6M


This gave me a really clear mental model (something I could hold in my head) of how the business works.

As I learned new information about things that impacted each driver, I could quickly do the maths on the outcome.

Leaders often like to think about their business this way, so finance can help them to do this by preparing this view. You can also share it with new business partners to help them onboard and understand the business.

(The rounded numbers also mean you don’t have to update it too often 😊)

3. Feeling lost in your new finance role? Try this

When you start a new role, one task you can do to help you understand what really matters in the business is to create a one-pager with your own version of all the numbers of the business on it.

Basically, a P&L with all the months of the year of numbers, with the most important drivers and P&L lines.

This sounds like something that should already exist doesn’t it!?

Well, I found that most of the time it doesn’t really, and that when I started a new role I could improve what was there before. Even if it was just adding some non-financials (volume, price per unit or FTEs at the top) or some ratios at the bottom (GM% or profit per unit or FTE at the end).

Once you’ve created a one-pager like this, it can then become a key reference document for you to update each quarter or year for new actuals, forecasts and budgets.

It also means you can quickly put any updates or changes into context for your business partners.

Try it out and let me know how you find it!

For help with any of the above, or a bespoke first 90 days plan, including how to deliver a team strategy at the end of your first 90 days – get in touch!

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Oliver Deacon

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