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How I Transitioned from Cisco to Uber - a Retrospective
In October 2021, I made the move from Cisco to Uber. This transition was a significant change, bringing new challenges and opportunities. With my experience, I want to share how I managed to hit the ground running, ensuring a smooth adaptation to my new role.
This blog will discuss the onboarding process, learning the ropes, creating a 90-day plan, and seeking support from various sources to transition smoothly.
The onboarding process is essential for setting the stage for a successful transition to a new job. Here are some of the key steps I took to hit the ground running at Uber:
Review financials, products, strategy, and brands. I started by familiarizing myself with Uber's financials, products, and strategies. This gave me a good understanding of the company's current position and future goals. I also researched the company's brands and target markets to gain a broader perspective.
Connect with stakeholders. As a new employee, it's important to establish relationships with key stakeholders. I reached out to my boss, peers, leadership, and both internal and external customers. I set up meetings to introduce myself and learn about their roles and expectations.
Learn about business planning, OKRs, and working styles. I familiarized myself with Uber's business planning process and the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) framework. This helped me understand how the company aligns and tracks progress. I also took the time to understand the working styles of my team and the organization. This knowledge helped me adapt quickly and contribute effectively.
Understand the company culture. I engaged with leaders, HR, "old-timers," and "new innovators" to learn about Uber's culture, values, and unwritten rules. This understanding helped me navigate the workplace and build relationships more effectively.
I approached learning in a 360° manner, which means that I sought information from all sides. Here are some of the specific steps I took:
Gathered knowledge from a variety of sources. I spoke with top management, engineers, sales, product managers, customers, and online forums to gain a comprehensive understanding of Uber's business and industry. I also read industry publications, white papers, and blog posts.
Analyzed the company's strategic direction, organizational structure, and core processes. I wanted to understand how Uber operated and how my role fit into the overall scheme of things. I also identified the critical skills needed for success in my role.
Researched Uber's customers, competitors, regulatory environment, and investor expectations. I wanted to understand the market dynamics and how Uber was positioned against its competitors. I also wanted to understand the regulatory environment and investor expectations.
Delved into operational data and analytics. I wanted to understand how Uber was performing and where there were opportunities for improvement. I analyzed operational data and metrics to identify trends and areas for improvement.
Conducted a listening tour. I met with colleagues from various departments to gather insights and perspectives about the company, its challenges, and opportunities. This helped me build a more holistic understanding of the organization.
Having a structured plan for the first 90 days can set the foundation for long-term success. Here are some of the key items I included in my 90-day plan:
Identify and leverage existing capabilities. I identified my team's strengths and existing capabilities. I focused on ways to maximize their potential and drive results.
Stimulate innovation. I encouraged new ideas and fostered a culture of innovation. Conducted vision offsite. This helped us to drive continuous improvement and growth.
Assess alignment. I evaluated the alignment between our team's objectives and the company's overall strategy. This ensured that our efforts were focused on the right priorities.
Build a leadership team. I worked on building and strengthening my leadership team, empowering the people with the right skills with the right roles. I focused on clear communication and collaboration.
Secure early wins. I identified quick wins (operational efficiency, rigor in execution, sprint productivity) that demonstrated my ability to deliver results and build credibility within the organization.
In addition to the onboarding process and 360° learnings, it is also important to gather support from various sources to ensure a successful transition to a new role. Here are some of the key things I focused on:
Seek guidance from mentors. I sought guidance from experienced colleagues and mentors who could help me to identify strategic breakpoints and avoid potential organizational pitfalls. This was invaluable in helping me to navigate the new environment and make sound decisions. Also leverage their expertise and insights to navigate challenges and accelerate my growth within the organization.
Be open to new systems and structures. I remained open to adopting new systems and structures. This allowed me to incorporate feedback from colleagues and adapt to the evolving needs of the organization.
Secure the necessary resources. I worked with my team to secure the necessary resources and budget to achieve our goals. Some of this required tapping into resources from other team members on an advisory/consulting basis to bridge the skills gap within the team. This ensured that we had the tools needed to be successful.
Form alliances. I formed alliances with colleagues across the company. This helped us to achieve common goals and foster a collaborative environment.
It wasn’t until late 2022 that I became a driver partner for Uber and delivered food for UberEATS. I gained a unique perspective by interacting directly with end customers. This experience helped me appreciate the nuances of their needs and expectations, which might have been missed had I not taken on these roles.
Furthermore, shadowing customer service agents for the first time completely changed my perspective on the importance of delivering a "magical user experience." By observing interactions between agents and customers, I recognized the significance of ensuring quality and reliability in our services. These experiences would have remained missed opportunities if I hadn't taken the initiative to immerse myself in different aspects of the company.
By embracing these opportunities, I gained invaluable insights that not only enriched my understanding of the business but also influenced my decision-making and approach to problem-solving.
Transitioning from Cisco to Uber was a significant change, but by focusing on a structured onboarding process, continuous learning, a well-thought-out 90-day plan, and seeking support, I was able to hit the ground running and set the stage for long-term success.
Remember that every transition is different, and what worked for me might not work for everyone. However, the key principles of onboarding, learning, planning, and support can be applied universally, helping you adapt to new environments and excel in your new role.
As you embark on your own career transitions, I hope that sharing my experience can provide valuable insights and guidance on how to hit the ground running and make the most of your new opportunities. Good luck!