Friday, June 22, 2007

So, You're The Obnoxious New Guy?

You've been interviewed, evaluated, and heard the sales pitch about what XYZ Company can do for you. You've considered the offer and opportunity and have decided that this new company and culture will be a great place for you to grow, contribute, and progress in your career. They have also told you how excited they are to have you on their team and emphasized everything about you that will be a great fit for you and them.

Now, you're it - "The New Guy"

I found this article in BusinessWeek by Liz Ryan titled, "How Not to Be the Obnoxious Newcomer". I immediately had to laugh and think back to when I was "The New Guy" at various placed where I've worked. I remember some of the awkwardness - how much should I say or should I wait until I'm asked upon for my opinion. We all can think about new hires at companies where we have worked and how they have presented themselves and their opinions - some good and some bad.

Here's my take on this dilemma that "The New Guy" faces...

1. Think about what you were hired to do - or least what your boss said you'd be doing. Were you hired to shake things up because the way things are being done today will definitely not work? If this is you then you obviously shouldn't be as concerned with being "The New Guy". You've been brought in to take charge, question the way things have been done, and (using your past experiences and accomplishments) make changes. Most of us aren't going to fall into this category so continue reading...

2. Listen more than you speak. You've heard it before - we've been given 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. You've done your research on the company and asked all the right questions during the interview process so you feel pretty confident about what you're walking into. Think again - it's never exactly what you thought it was going to be (not being pessimistic - just reality). Now is the time to listen to whats going on. What are they doing today that works/doesn't work? How have they done it in the past and what changes or enhancements have been done over the years to make it better?

3. Reflect on your past experiences. You've probably been hired to do a job that is similar to what you've done before so think about (and if needed write it down) how you did your job. What made you successful or what worked at your previous company? Was it your charisma? technology? a particular software package? a process? Remember, just because it worked there it will not automatically work at the XYZ Company. Maybe you and your previous company were not successful - now you've learned how not to do it.

4. Now, really learn about your new employer. What is their core product and what does the product do - why is your company in business and how do they generate revenue? Who are your customers - and why are they still your customer today? Who are your competitors - and how similar or competitive is what they have on the market? How is the company really doing financially? What is the culture? What technology does your company use to accomplish their main objective? Are they forward thinking about what shape they will be in 5 or 10 years down the road? What's going on in your industry? There are obviously more but here's a great starting point...

Hopefully these 4 points have made you think about the next time you are "The New Guy". You may even have a friend that is about to be or has just become "The New Guy" - forward this to them to save them from making the mistakes that we have all been guilty of.