How to Conquer the Biggest Obstacle when Starting at a New Company
When you're starting a new position how do you get through the probationary period and begin a stellar career?
One of your biggest obstacles is your colleagues, but how do you turn them from a threat and into an ally? Below are six ideas to help you conquer the biggest obstacle when starting at a new company.
When I was younger, me and my friends would sit in the mall on a bench and would watch people go by. It was quite entertaining to people watch, especially when we would make up their story based on how they looked, acted and what they wore. At times we would be very creative and have their whole life detailed from their career to the new love in their life.
Characterizing is what all of us do, consciously or unconsciously. We see someone and based on their appearance we create a story around them. Assumptions are developed and as we learn more about them that story begins to change.
Have you ever talked to someone on the phone and then when you finally meet them you say, “I thought you’d be much different.” That’s because we created a story about them based on their voice, tone, word usage, pauses and the rapport we built with them.
It’s interesting how we make up stories of who these people are. We have this need to fill in the blanks instead of being okay with not knowing. The shame of it is that we hold onto that story and start to view them as such. Then as we build on that story we create emotions around it and decide if we like them or not.
I recall when I worked in the corporate environment and there was a new member hired in our department. Before she even stepped into the office on her first day there was “talk” about her. Some of my colleagues were catty and others were suspicious that she might be hired to replace one of them. Then when she came in she was bubbly and friendly…. and young.
Before I get to the end of that story I want to give you a few things to help you integrate into a new company more successfully:
1) When you receive the notice you got the position, either from the human resources or the person who interviewed you ask this: “I want to make the first few days of my new position run as smoothly as possible, do you have any advice?”
2) One of the first people you should befriend is the gate keeper of the company. That person sits at the front and manages all traffic going in and out and hears much of what’s going on behind the scenes. This person can many times be the one that others rely on to find out the scoop on the new person. Don’t ever underestimate the power of this position.
3) Introduce yourself to your new colleagues and show an interest in them. Then be sure to get their permission to ask for help if needed. This will make them feel important, valued and respected.
4) Learn about the dynamics of the team and the organization. Who are the decision makers? Who are the talkers? Who is up for promotion?
5) Find out who has been there the longest. They have most likely seen a lot of changes in the company and will be a great resource for how to integrate successfully. Take this person out for lunch—it will be worth it.
6) Be modest and kind at all times. And above all, be authentic. Colleagues will be more able to build trust with you and feel more at ease, thus altering the story they had about you creating something more positive.
When the new girl came aboard she was just lovely and more than qualified for the position she filled. Although she chose to get to know me and not make the effort to get to know the other older ladies on the team who had been there for far longer than I had, and where her biggest obstacle. The story that the older ladies had from the beginning held true to them and they decided she wasn’t a good fit for the team. Four months later she quit.
Starting a new position in a new company can be very challenging, especially if your employer doesn’t have a system to integrate new employees. Finding a new job can be very daunting and time consuming. But if you’re not able to mesh in a timely manner that may be discouraging and time wasted for both parties.
Asking a potential employer if they have an employee integration or on-boarding plan during the interview can be an important factor to consider when deciding to join them or not.
If you are facing obstacles while trying to fit into a new organization feel free to contact me and we can discuss how to create a success plan around this. Please share if you think this will be useful to someone else.
Christine is a Professional Success Coach assisting individuals and groups to harness their potential and advance their goals. You’ll find her techniques and strategies help remove barriers and pave a clearer path to success.