Beware of the Big Splash

October 2013

A Strong Start Requires the Right Approach

Addison Group finds great jobs for candidates, and we want you to succeed when you get there.  Your first few days of a new job are under a microscope.  People will be watching to learn about you and your workplace style.  Be sure to take the right approach as you start a new job.

Know the Landscape
You may be new to this job, but you know the landscape of any new workplace.  Some people might be happy to see you.  Others may be unhappy after applying for your job.  If you are a manager, everyone will wonder how much their job may change. 

You may be tempted to make a big splash, perhaps by making commitments to change certain things around the office right away or by throwing yourself headlong into a project.  Honestly, the worst thing you can do is go in and change something when you don’t even know what you’re changing.  A methodical approach is best.  Know your landscape, listen, and learn to have successes over the long run. 

Listen
The best way to build relationships is through listening.  A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. You should always listen 80% of the time, and spend the other 20% talking. Ask open-ended questions and ask them in a way that reflects a desire to learn.

The following simple sentences work best for your teammates and employees:
• Tell me a little bit about yourself.
• What do you do for the company?
• Why did you join the organization? What has kept you here for so long?
• I want to learn as much as I can about the organization, and I’d love your advice.


Choose your words and questions carefully to show your peers and team that you’re interested in what makes them tick. 

Learn
Listening is not enough.  Learn from these conversations.  Identify common themes in all that you are hearing.  You may have a dozen conversations, but people usually return to a few familiar points.  Take these key points to develop a strategy and specific tasks that will guide your work.   

Putting it all Together
If you listen, you will learn what’s right with the organization, what’s wrong with an organization, and how it can be strengthened.  Prepare a plan for success, but you should take a moment to remember that you can’t do it all at once.  Start with the most blatant needs.  Pick battles where your solution shows that you listened to people.  A methodical approach now will help you, your team, and your organization succeed later.