Are you prepared? Or were you counting on the organization to have an onboarding program for you?
Have you thought through your integration strategy?
Here are a few pointers to get you through your first few weeks.
1. Don’t count on the organization having a plan for you. Even if they do, you might want to have a say as to what is most important and relevant for you.
2. Give yourself permission to be in learning mode for the first 4 weeks (in reality you will need at least 18 months…)
3. Observe, ask and listen – you don’t have to have an opinion yet.
4. Have an introduction for yourself prepared in advance – what do you want them to remember about you?
5. WHATEVER THE TEMPTATION: DON’T MAKE ANY DECISIONS!
6. Know who your stakeholders are and take the time to meet them and build rapport. Remember point number 3 – show interest in what they do, find out what their priorities, prides and worries are. Gain full understanding of existing and potential synergies between their mandate and yours. Talk a bit about yourself and the fit between you and your role. Build credibility.
7. Don’t assume your team is either a group of superheroes or a bunch of nitwits. Properly and prudently assess their understanding of team deliverables, their roles, intra-dependencies, capabilities and motivators. Conversations in groups and one-to-one help to reinforce alignment and observe effectiveness and dynamics within the team. Remember point number 3 – lead through insightful questions.
8. Gain full appreciation of the organizational structure and the way the organization functions – these are typically two different things.
9. Read up on the vision (again, since you have seen it already, no?), mission and values of the organization and check if these are just the printed statements or if the organization indeed values the Team Collaboration, Customer First etc.
10. Understand the corporate strategic direction and poke holes in strategy – your views are fresh, and although you might want to be very sensitive in when you share these views – it is good to be prepared and grounded.
11. How many times do you make reference to your previous job, the other organization? Bite your tongue….“in my old company we did it differently” sounds fresh only the first week or so… lose it quickly.
12. Know if your group’s vision and strategic direction aligns with the organizational vision and direction.
13. You are ready to start thinking about your first quick wins – What are they? Who needs to be involved? How do you go about the deployment?
14. Lastly… with whom do you talk about all this? Your spouse? Your buddy? Your peers? Your peers from “the other company”? Your boss? Your Team?