Integrity Matters
February 2, 2005

Use your eyes and ears when starting new job

Question: (E-169)

Dear Jim:

I have recently accepted a significant business promotion, in another state, with a new company. What is the most effective way for me to get started, with my new team, quickly and effectively?


You wouldn't have gotten the job unless you'd developed a strong and successful track record and were effective in selling yourself. Organizations do not move people across the country unless they possess credentials, capacity, motivation and communications skills.

You can manage your successful assimilation into this new company around seven purposeful and constructive actions:

  • Listen to those who know the ground rules, the issues and the history of the organization you've chosen to join. It's true that others seldom care how much you know until they know how much you care. Take the time to listen to the stories of those who have worked in your new organizations.
  • Ask for help from new colleagues, in a whole variety of legitimate ways. Thanking those who guide your orientation will make them your partners in the assimilation process.
  • Observe, with appreciation, how tasks are accomplished, how decisions are made and communicated. Watch behavior and customs carefully. Seek understanding first. Learn the traditions. Find out the reasons for celebrations that may not be obvious when first encountered.
  • Acknowledge that you're eager to learn about your new environment and will very much appreciate input, including timely and forthright feedback -- especially in areas where you're making mistakes.
  • Wait for the real "hiring moment" to happen. Appointing individuals to positions is the work of managers, executives and boards of directors. However, getting hired is what happens when those around you decide that you are worthy of their trust, respect and admiration.
  • Exhibit integrity-centered behaviors by modeling character, honesty, openness, authority, partnership, performance, charity and graciousness.
  • Avoid lamenting about relocation challenges, including corporate policies that require certain personal adjustments. Solve your own personal "moving problems" including securing all utility hook-ups, relying upon your Realtor or other professionals outside of your company. One possible exception, and this is a judgment call, would be the person who selected you. This person is likely to be highly motivated to help you be successful.

Everyone else wants to work with you to increase their own personal and organizational productivity, and their impact upon you. Seek their help on company-related issues.

Now that you've accepted your new job, you're expected to assimilate, personally and professionally, with enthusiasm, efficiency and integrity. In a word, Listen, listen, listen. You won't get a second chance to make a first impression.

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