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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

How to Master the First Month in a New Sports Business Job


You made it.

You accepted the new job offer, negotiated your salary, and notified your network on LinkedIn and Twitter. However, the excitement of your first gig or a new role in the sports business industry can quickly present some anxiety and stress after the first few days on the job. Pressure begins to set in and deadlines are now assigned.

Sound familiar? Well, here are four steps that prosperous professionals take in their first 30 days in a new job to ensure success.

Begin Before You Begin

Prioritize what are the most important things for you to learn. Ask yourself and your hiring manager tough questions like, “Is it more important to learn about the company’s product offering, its market objectives or the company culture?” Or, “Should I skip the lingo learning and start talking to teammates and uncover best practices and the team’s internal processes instead?”

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This process can accelerate your onboarding to help you get to work faster. Understanding expectations and measurement of your role will help you build your priorities. Clear expectations are far easier to meet than fuzzy ones.

“Become known for executing one thing and being the go-to person for whatever your primary role is,” Boston College Athletic Director Martin Jarmond said.

Setting up a pattern of being trustworthy and following through on your commitments is one of the best ways to build credibility within an organization. “Proper preparation prevents poor performance” is an old saying in sports coaching that applies beyond the game and, if applied, can serve you well in a new role.

Become a Master Observer

Often times in a new role, it can be tempting to get involved quickly, aggressively establish yourself, and take on new projects to prove that you belong. Unfortunately, speed may not always be the best answer.

Develop what Ximena Vengoechea, a Harvard University graduate who has conducted research at Linkedin, Twitter, and Pinterest, calls “selective attention.”

Learn what really matters for the outcome you desire. Then focus on it. Each job, company, and project will have its own set of patterns that lead to success. Aim to remove all unnecessary noise, and save your energy to focus on working smart, being calm, and following through.”

Understanding the people you work with, above, below, and next to you is critical for you to navigate centers of power and knowledge. Most of the time, it is not obvious and takes time to see not only who is a decision-maker but also how decisions are made.

Brace Yourself for Hard Work

Joseph Accordino, an associate producer at ESPN, states on his entry-level experience that “sports broadcasting is no picnic, though. Fourteen-hour days are common, and lunch breaks are a luxury. But you’d be hard-pressed to find someone on my crew who would rather be doing something else. I walk into my ultramodern production truck with the confidence of someone who is a valuable piece of the puzzle, but with the humility of someone who knows there is still much left to learn.”

Identify opportunities for small, easy wins. Building your confidence and competence will allow you to eventually make a difference. Most likely, this won’t happen on Day One.

Buckle your chinstrap and embrace the tension of hard work.

Be Present

Bob Lorenz, a studio host on the YES Network for the New York Yankees’ pregame and postgame shows says, you have to bring the same level of focus and dedication to the little tasks you are assigned, like running a teleprompter, as you would to the big tasks you are assigned, like helping to cover some breaking news story.”

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In the present moment, focus on understanding the values behind common microinteractions. Understand the preferences and assumptions of the people you work with, such as:

  • Requesting things via email or in-person?
  • Formally scheduling meetings or informal discussions?
  • Are calendars sacred or merely a formality?
  • Eating lunch while working alone or in the company of others?

Preparation, observation, toleration, and execution are all things within your control during times of transition, especially in a new role. Don’t wait for until things get hard in a new job, as a proactive approach can set you apart as a new hire and lead you closer to the results you worked so hard to achieve.

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