"Start off on the right foot" - Human Resources


10/25/20224 min read

To begin a project, relationship, in a positive and successful manner.


The early beginnings of the idiom "start off on the right foot" are unknown, but the phrase has been in use for centuries. It is believed to have originated from ancient superstitions that favored the right side over the left, considering it to be more auspicious and lucky. In many cultures, the right side was associated with good fortune, while the left side was associated with bad luck or evil. Consequently, starting an activity or relationship "on the right foot" was a way to ensure success and positive outcomes.

What is the Meaning?

To "start off on the right foot" means to begin something in a positive and successful manner. The idiom is often used to express the importance of making a good first impression, as this can set the tone for future interactions or determine the course of a project or relationship. For example, if you start a new job or join a new team, you'll want to create a favorable impression on your colleagues and superiors by being proactive, cooperative, and prepared.

Prioritize Quality Communication

a man in a black shirt and red shoes
a man in a black shirt and red shoes


Imagine you are standing at the starting line of a race. You want to ensure you begin the race well by taking a strong and balanced first step with your right foot. This first step sets the pace for the rest of the race and increases your chances of success. Similarly, starting off on the right foot in a business context means making a strong and positive impression from the outset, laying the foundation for future success.

Human Resources Context - How to Use the Idiom

In the human resources industry, it's essential to "start off on the right foot" when working with new employees, clients, or partners. Here are some example sentences of the idiom used in various business contexts:

"During the onboarding process, it's crucial to start off on the right foot by providing clear guidance and support for new employees."

"When negotiating a contract, you'll want to start off on the right foot by establishing rapport and trust with your counterparts."

"To ensure a successful partnership, we need to start off on the right foot by setting clear expectations and maintaining open lines of communication."

Compare Sentences

Without idiom: "It's important to make a good impression during the interview."

With idiom: "You'll want to start off on the right foot during the interview."

The sentence with the idiom is more engaging and memorable, emphasizing the importance of making a positive first impression in a job interview.

a person standing in front of a group of people
a person standing in front of a group of people

Over to you - Using the Idiom in Conversation

How would you use the idiom "start off on the right foot" in your business conversations? Try to think of situations where you could use the idiom. Consider reading this scenario aloud. Record yourself speaking to experience a more effective way of practicing the idiom. Here is an example to get you started.


Scenario: A team meeting to discuss goals and objectives for the upcoming quarter.

Project Manager: "As we begin this new quarter, let's make sure we start off on the right foot by setting SMART goals and working collaboratively."

HR Manager: "Absolutely, and to support that, we'll provide training and resources to help our employees develop the skills needed to achieve those goals."

Finance Manager: "On the financial side, we'll closely monitor our budget and spending to ensure we stay on track."

Marketing Manager: "And we'll create a marketing plan that aligns with our objectives, driving growth and brand awareness."

In this conversation, the project manager uses the idiom to emphasize the importance of beginning the quarter positively and successfully, while the other team members respond with specific ways their departments will contribute to achieving that goal. The conversation showcases how the idiom can be used effectively in a business context.

Gap Fill Exercises

Add the idiom "start off on the right foot" to the blank spaces in the following sentences:

  1. To ensure a successful project, it's crucial to _________ by assigning clear roles and responsibilities.

  2. When meeting a new client, it's important to _________ by being punctual and well-prepared.

  3. As a new team leader, you should _________ by building trust and rapport with your team members.

  4. When launching a new product, it's essential to _________ with a solid marketing strategy.

Quiz: Test Your Understanding of "Start Off on the Right Foot"

Title: "Starting Off on the Right Foot: Idiom in Business Contexts Quiz"

What does the idiom "start off on the right foot" mean?

a) To begin a task or relationship well and positively

b) To take a literal step with your right foot

c) To walk in the right direction

Which of the following sentences uses the idiom correctly?

a) "I always start off on the right foot when I tie my shoes."

b) "Our team needs to start off on the right foot by establishing clear goals and objectives."

c) "The car started off on the right foot when I turned the key."

In which business context would you most likely use the idiom "start off on the right foot"?

a) When discussing a computer issue with IT support

b) When beginning a new partnership or project

c) When ordering lunch for the office

Fill in the blank: "To _________, we should create a detailed project plan and assign tasks to team members."

a) start off on the right foot

b) put your best foot forward

c) step up to the plate

Why is it important to "start off on the right foot" in a business context?

a) It helps ensure success and positive outcomes

b) It prevents foot injuries

c) It guarantees that you will win a race

Scoring Guidelines:

1 point for each correct answer

5 points: Excellent understanding of the idiom

3-4 points: Good understanding of the idiom

1-2 points: Needs improvement in understanding the idiom

0 points: Did not understand the idiom

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