When you start a new job, whether in your current company or a new one, the first 30-days gives you great visibility to your new manager and team. Good and bad. Fitting into the team is an objective of the hiring manager and whether the team is right for you is an objective you have for the work.
Unless you are brought into a team to blow it up — rare, except in sports — your first rule should be “do no harm.” Usually the team is doing some things right. Sometimes they are doing some things extraordinarily right. By “doing no harm,” you have the ability to observe what the management team believes is being done well and you can learn from that. Any time a new team member is added to the current team, the team needs to make some effort to rebuild itself because of your new presence. Think “Brett Favre” going into the Vikings locker room — it is disruptive to the current team. Doing no harm by respecting the culture means you end up supporting that which is good about the team.
Going into a team and immediately trying to change how the team works doesn’t give you the opportunity to observe how the team is currently working. There might be some great practices that you could learn that would improve your job skills. Or you could see a dysfunctional team that, in trying to change it right away, causes you to miss the underlying issues with the team. By respecting the current culture, you can learn more about how the team operates.
Your new team has their apprehension about you as well. If you come into a team and start disrupting how the work is done, you’ll have a harder time building your credibility with the team. A key to quickly getting to success on a new team is fitting in with the corporate culture because the corporate culture is the underlying process by which work gets done.
Now, if you are reading this and feeling like this is just “drink the Kool-Aid and get along” like I’m feeling as I’m writing it, you should note that this is why it is important to acclimate to a team after taking the job. As part of your interview questions, you should already have asked the important corporate culture questions to determine if the position was right for you in the first place. If you didn’t do that, you can end up in a totally wrong corporate culture for your work style and this will feel like drinking the Kool-Aid.
But asking the right interview questions means what you are seeing in your new job should validate the answers you received. Plus help you get to accomplishment faster in your new job.
I’m writing a lot about how to get to success in the first 30-days on your new job in my new book “I’ve Landed My Dream Job — Now What???” What other ways can you quickly acclimate yourself with your new team?
Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations. In 2005, Scot started sharing these hard lessons at CubeRules.com, a site devoted to Career Advice for knowledge workers, whom he calls Cubicle Warriors.