Each company or organization sets up a Vocoli "instance" to generate surveys, to build a suggestion box, and to connect with the team.
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The first 60 days in any company can be an exciting and trying time. It’s a time of getting one’s feet wet, acclimating to the culture and learning the major requirements and responsibilities of the new position. However, what many fail to realize, is that this is also a time to prove his/her net worth to the organization by having a real impact. Before we examine our 4 ways to have a meaningful impact in your first 60 days, let’s first look at what not to do as a brand new employee.
One of our employees once worked for a software company where the sales force was made up almost entirely of fresh-faced recent college grads. For many of them this was their first real job out of school and they were eager to make their mark. Every one of them was brimming with energy and enthusiasm.
As a whole, this worked out well and was a refreshing change of pace. Except for the time when one new employee somehow had too much energy. Because he meant well and was not a mean person, we will refer to him simply as "John" (not his real name).
It wasn't long before he realized John liked to talk . . . a lot. In fact, it seemed like he never stopped talking. Regardless of the forum, he felt the freedom to express his thoughts as they occurred to him.
The company’s annual sales conference was held during his first week and the show he put on is described as cringe-worthy to this day. For whatever reason, John thought the sales conference meeting, with about 50 employees in attendance, was a good platform to share his thoughts and opinions at great length with everyone. He probably thought he was providing helpful knowledge to our company CEO in a public setting, but if John was at all conscious, he would have noticed his manager shaking his head in disbelief.
John didn't last much longer than that. A day later he was pulled aside and cut loose.
John was a nice person and hopefully the experience didn't break him and he instead learned from his mistake that sometimes too much is just that - too much. From this story, we have derived the four simple rules to follow to have a meaningful impact in your first 60 days.
As a new employee you may be brimming with energy and the urge to impress your coworkers with your knowledge. But don't let these needs overshadow your primary responsibility as a new employee - LISTEN.
As Lyndon Johnson once said, "You aren't learning anything when you're talking." As a new employee, it's your goal to learn everything you can about the job - the responsibilities, tools, office culture and politics - before offering insight into how you think it should work.
Although no one is quite sure where the quote originated, it is a true one - "Better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." Don't make John's mistake, learn everything you can about the job before electing to share your thoughts.
2. Do your homework
Before Picasso could unleash his masterwork Guernica on the world, he spent years mastering his craft. If you look to his early works, you will see a man deeply versed in traditional painting styles. It was only after he had mastered the foundations that he could comfortably present his more abstract works to great acclaim.
Be like Picasso. Devote yourself to mastering every aspect of your job and become the house expert at it. Once you have established yourself among your co-workers as a person who knows what they are talking about then you can start breaking the mold and share your non-traditional thoughts.
3. Figure out who the movers and shakers are
Every organization has members who are more influential than others. You will be well-served to spend your first 60 days identifying and getting close to them. Avoid "todaying" but listen to how they get things done, what they like, and what they need. Knowing these things will make it easier to sell them your ideas later.
4. Few meaningful suggestions, not a million
When you are feeling a little more comfortable in your role, selectively choose to share a few thoughts with your co-workers. It is important to not bombard or complain but instead find a few allies to your cause. A safe way to do this is to phrase it as a question, "Is there a reason why we don't do X in Y way?" As a new employee, your fresh point of view has value, just take care not to shake things up too hard and stay patient.
Even if your company has a well designed employee suggestion program, it is important to always keep in mind your co-workers opinion of you. No one likes their work questioned, especially by the new person. Following these four simple rules could make the difference between becoming a valuable member of the team and being quickly jettisoned like John.
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