“It’s a lot easier for a big splash to go horribly negative than to go well” – Gautam Mukunda
If you’ve been following the American White House saga, then the sack of the White Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci less than 2 weeks after he was hired, is no news.
In an article by BBC’s Eric Barton, he outlined lessons to be learnt and tips to help new hires stay longer on the job.
First, don’t do anything crazy
“Use your first 10 days to suss out who will influence you, and how much of an influence you can have in this new company,” says Jason Womack, executive coach in San Francisco and author of Your Best Just Got Better
Lots of new hires have a tendency to make a big splash in the job they just landed, but bold announcements are more likely to backfire, says Gautam Mukunda, assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.
This means avoiding a showy demonstration at your first staff meeting. Don’t announce an organisational shakeup on your first day. Stay clear of wide-sweeping criticisms of the company processes. “It’s a lot easier for a big splash to go horribly negative than to go well,” Mukunda says. “There’s a good chance your new co-workers are just not going to appreciate your attempt at a big entrance.”
Shun setting big goals
There’s a good chance, as a new hire, that you still have no idea what you might be capable of achieving. And yet many people set overly ambitious goals in their first days on the job, says Michael Sharkey, founder and CEO of San Francisco marketing software firm Autopilot.
For now, Sharkey says, leave those sales numbers or new product projections alone. Over-promising now means there’s a good chance later you’ll be explaining why you and your new team couldn’t come through.
“The appetite for goals in those first few days is hard to quench,” Sharkey says. “But if you set too many goals right off, it’s going to be very hard to achieve them all.”
Start with something small to establish quick wins
Maybe it’s a new hire you want to bring in to round out your team. Perhaps it’s simply learning the intricacies of the company’s supply network, or getting to know people in lateral positions.
“It’s all about expectation-setting and understanding what matters,” Sharkey says. “Start with one small task, and you’ll hopefully start the new job with an early win.”
While working toward that goal, begin building the relationships you’re going to need later. Find mentors and upper managers willing to offer advice, and then don’t be afraid to ask them questions, Womack says.
Be sure these early questions are well tailored
Avoid trying to sound like the new recruit with all the answers, because nobody wants to hear the new person talk about how everything should be done correctly.
Instead, Mukunda recommends asking questions that show you want guidance from others – an easy way to ingratiate yourself to managers and colleagues. “There is simply no better way to build relationships than to ask for advice,” Mukunda says.
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