When you come into a new role as a manager, it’s important to understand the team’s and organization’s past before beginning to shape the future.

As is with anything in life, you have to know where you came from in order to determine where you’re going. It’s hard to set goals and expectations without understanding the past and what has brought you to this point in life. As a manager, it’s equally important to understand a company’s past before forging ahead with future plans. Effective managers and companies are able to use past mistakes and wins to make strategic plans that will catapult the organization to the next level of success.

As you get started in a new role, how do you go about learning about the company’s past?

First, I would recommend sitting down one-on-one with the individual contributors. Listen to what they have to say in terms of what has shaped the team and organization. Ask them how they’ve progressed and also understand any concerns or issues that they believe are contributing to the current state of business. See if they have recommendations for improving processes and culture and why they think their ideas could help mold the future in a positive way.

Second, do some research. See what the financial history of the company is, how they were founded, how they have grown, etc. It’s important to have a clear picture of how the organization and team got to the point where they are today. With this information, you can have a clear past and present vision of where the company has been and where it can go.

Next, formulate a plan. Use what you’ve learned from team members and your research to formulate a plan for moving forward. These could be revenue goals, culture changes, process improvement or other initiatives. Your plan should be clear, concise and have realistic goals and objectives that can help motivate and drive your team members to excel.

In my more than 10 years of recruiting, I’ve helped hundreds of people transition into new roles throughout the Manufacturing sector and have been able to witness what has worked and what has not for my candidates. A large part of succeeding in a new role is understanding how the team and company got to where it is today. From there, you can develop a plan for moving forward and determine what your goals and processes should be.

Have you been in a similar experience before? What worked for you? Share your thoughts with us below.