Surviving the first 6 months in any new environment can feel like learning to drive. You are caught in the middle of trying to find your feet, understand the new systems, know your team, understand your role and expectations, network as well as perform to a high standard from day one. Creating a good impression is so important, as the old adage says, “first impressions are the most lasting”. However, I have found that there are a few staples that make the experience a whole lot easier wherever you find yourself, be it a new company, role or department. You are in a delicate position and you need to strategically navigate through to ensure you succeed. Below are a few key lessons I have learnt over the years.
1) You have to be proactive. Most times, you will not be served the opportunity to shine on a platter. You have to seek ways to add value.
2) Be prepared, do (even more than) the required work, put in the effort. You need to know your stuff to be put on a platform and sit with the big boys and girls. You can be called at any time to answer questions relating to your work. You need to know your stuff like the back of your hands, after all you worked on it.
3) Regular updates are good. It is good to be explicit about the work you are doing. Don’t assume that people know what you are doing or the work you have done. Don’t become annoying or over sell yourself but when you’ve done work, speak up about it. Regular updates also allow you to check if you’re going in the right direction, no point spending all your time and effort on something that isn’t of use or you weren’t asked to do!
4) Be known for something, what comes to mind when your name is mentioned? You are better being known to be excellent at one thing than being just ok at many things. There should be that one thing that makes people think of you – Cultivate it and become the ‘go to’ person.
5) Study your company, know the products and services it offers and understand what part your team plays in contributing to the company’s overall strategy and success.
6) It is okay to make mistakes (especially early on), it’s one of the most effective ways to learn. Ask for help or admit you do not know early on and once you are taught, remember it.
7) Saying nothing in a meeting is a big NO. Write down 2 points you want to pass across (or questions you want answered) in the meeting beforehand and try to have a say as early as possible. Obviously, this should relate to the meeting agenda :).
8) You have something to offer, don’t be scared to offer it. You were hired to add a flavour not drown in the mix. Don’t be scared to do things the way you know how. The worst that could happen is it will get changed.
9) It is not rocket science. It’s a lot easier than you think. Make an attempt, you’ll find that you know a lot more than you think. (Except rocket science itself and to those who do it, it is not “rocket science” either, just ask Sheldon Cooper!).
10) Be you and build good relationships. Most times the answer you are looking for is right beside you.
Go in your might and excel, you can do it. You are better than you think.
That’s all folks.