I recently heard from an upwardly mobile marketing professional who was frustrated in her new job, “they hired me to innovate, and a now I’m getting yessed to death but there’s no action!” Her dilemma is one common to many.
All too often we join a new company and in an effort to make a powerful impression, we achieve the opposite. Here are a some thoughts and strategies that just might help you avoid cranial-rectal inversion in your first months at that new job.
Whatever the apparent madness you see in the early days at a new company, there is usually some very sound reasoning behind it; recognize that the paychecks don’t bounce, so they must be doing something right. Don’t try to change the world before you know the way to the restroom, your first task is to gain a firm grasp on how and why things get done the way they do in your new environment.
While you are doing this, your new colleagues (the good the bad and the ugly) are appraising you to see which group you will fit into: the inner circle or the outer circle. For your first few months on a new job (and remember that traditionally, companies view the first 90 days as a probationary period) you would do well to remember the aphorism: god gave you one mouth and two ears; use them in the correct proportions! You want to be seen as a conscientious team player; someone always ready to lend a hand and a smile (no matter the job), and someone who asks advice of new peers and is gracious with thanks; asking advice BTW is flattering and a great bonding tool.
In short, you need time to get to know the company, its services and its people, while in turn; those people need time to get to know you. If you arrive and immediately begin re-inventing the company, it will be seen as arrogance and is going to be taken more as a personal insult than an opportunity to bow before a new and awesome deity!
No one wants to hear your ideas until they know if you are a talker or a doer. Take the time to get your feet on the ground, learn your way around, and absorb the culture. As you do this you’ll see plenty of opportunities for really making a difference with your presence. Prioritize them and start small, with each project meticulously conceived, planned and implemented.
Smaller ideas are easier to sell, and help you build a foundation of credibility; and, god forbid should something go wrong, it’s no big deal. As you know, ideas are one thing, but their implementation is another; working on smaller ideas first helps you recognize and finesse the politics and hidden hierarchies.
Additionally, it really doesn’t hurt for your ideas, when you do introduce them, to be seen as part of a team effort, and they will usually carry more initial weight when a member of that inner circle also has ownership; you don’t lose credibility, you gain it with their endorsement.
It is important to recognize that you don’t ascend the ladder of success on your own; you do it with the support, encouragement and camaraderie of similarly committed professionals, and as such we grow together. That’s why the people at the top of every industry all seem to know each other, and to have done so for years.
No one likes to be overwhelmed with genius and the better you are, the more you have to work at the packaging. So taking it slowly in the early days, will speed your acceptance by the group as a whole, and allow you the time to recognize the real players amongst your peers. When it comes to credibility and visibility, the good news travels more slowly than the bad, exercise patience grasshopper.
Join Martin every week to learn more about writing a killer resume, getting more job interviews and turning job interviews into job offers at his free weekly webcast, Mondays at noon central. Details: http://my.knockemdead.com