Who here just started a new job? Or maybe you’re about to start a new job? This is the situation I recently faced. It’s stressful, and it was important to me that I make a strong, lasting, and positive first impression. In fact, let’s talk about that today, but before we do, I’d like to give a big shout out to rands. A decade ago, I ran into his blog. It was the first blog I ever followed, and his advice in Ninety Days is something I reread before I start any new job. In it, he suggests that the interview continues through the first ninety days on the job. I agree, and I can relate with his piece of advice here:
Say something really stupid. Good news, you’re going to do this whether it’s on this list or not. I’m saying it’s ok.
Have a read over the post yourself. You’ll be glad you did. And let me add a few tips of my own:
- Build relationships first. Sit down with people. Ask them about themselves, where they’re from, what they like to do in their free time, how long have they been with the company. Put yourself and your agenda aside and get to know how they view the world around them. It’s such an easy thing to do, and when we’ve cultivated these relationships, people are more willing to talk openly and honestly about challenges and issues.
- Categorize problems appropriately. I believe that there’s two types of problems: those that people see and those that people don’t see. Know the difference. Also, we should be constantly asking ourselves: is this really a problem? Or do I just prefer to do things differently? After all, our biases can create blind spots.
- Start with something familiar. Don’t be bold and try something new. Why? Now is the time to build confidence, not the time to try a new, novel approach. For example, I’ve written previously about how I get familiar with a new team, and I’ve been employing this technique recently at my new gig. It’s also a great way to understand the problems people want solved.
- Don’t make a difference. At least not on day one. I struggle with this one, and I expect we all can relate. We want to make a strong and lasting impression on our new employer, and we think if we come out swinging that we’ll show our worth immediately. Problem is we might end up showing our ass instead. I suggest another approach. In fact, I’ve said as much above, but it’s worth repeating:
Shut up. Listen. Solve their problems. Don’t impose your preferences.
- Use Circles and Soup. If you’re familiar with Diana Larsen, you’ve probably run across this. If not, read about it here. It’s a retrospective technique, but that’s not how I’m suggesting we use it. Instead, use it to categorize the new world in which we find ourselves. Use it to understand what things we can control, what things we can influence, and what things we must live with for now. Over time, those circles will shift. We especially hope that the circle we can influence grows substantially as we gain the confidence of those around us.
Thanks for stopping by and good luck with the new job! Let me know how it goes.