When Liz was offered a job as a product manager at a growing biotech firm, she was ecstatic. She had spent considerable time on her job search, found a company and a position that felt like a perfect fit, nailed her interviews, and negotiated smartly. But once Liz had both feet in the door and began onboarding in her first month on the job, she suddenly felt less confident. She sensed that she wasn’t fitting in with the culture, was unsure who she should build relationships with, and felt unclear about what her actual role was. Liz began to wonder if she was even qualified for this job that she had worked so hard to land.
As an executive coach, I’ve seen a lot of leaders like Liz (not her real name) — in fact, Liz herself was my client. In working with her on the job transition, it became clear that while she was excited about starting the new job, her onboarding process was not going well. Unfortunately, this is common. According to research by McKinsey, up to half of new-leader transitions fail within two years.