21 Jan 2015

Lessons From the Field: Making a Difference Quickly

For most millennial Type As it can be very tough taking on a new role or challenge in an organization.

You crushed your interview and landed the new job and are now you’re shocked to find that you are already bored. For most Type A personalities it is tough to take on a new role in an organization. For the most part you are starting from scratch and have become the peon again. This can be especially true for lateral moves in management positions. You’re responsible for so much that you’re unfamiliar with: new names, new technologies, and new processes. As a result you try to insert yourself where you can, but there is a fine line to walk with veteran resources. For most, this struggle to embed yourself and make an immediate difference can manifest itself in boredom. You know as a consultant, I frequently work with new teams, start from scratch, and have to make a name for myself – reproving myself every time I am in the field with a new client or a change in management. At first, this was daunting; however, once you embrace it and see it as a challenge, it can be pretty exciting. Here are a couple of things that I have picked up to help me manage this challenge and work myself into the system

1. Listen to your boss. He hired you for a reason. Believe it or not, you are directly responsible for making him look good and he probably does know many of your strengths and weaknesses (regardless of whether you think you are fooling him/her).
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask the SME’s to go to lunch. Invest in yourself and your natural ability to quickly pick up new concepts. Most people appreciate being asked for advice and the opportunity to both engage professionally and personally is a fantastic opportunity, because let’s face it, we work hard – it is so much easier when you know and like your peers and superiors.
3. Don’t request more responsibility than you’re ready for. Don’t “bite off more than you can chew”. I advise against a major overhaul until you’re comfortable fighting that battle. Push yourself, but make sure you can deliver. In the end, your job is to deliver consistently so make sure you can do so with no excuses to the contrary.
4. You’re going to screw up. Everyone does, and everyone will. Your ability to own up to your mistakes and re-instilling confidence in both your boss and your peers is key in these situations. The same is true for your subordinates, if you screw up, be straight with them – they already know.
5. Strengthen your team’s trust in you. There’s no better way to get immersed than getting involved. Help your team problem solve. Don’t simply delegate.
6. Be confident. Pitch new ideas to your boss show tenacity to your team and demonstrate your ability as leader.
7. Not everyone is stupid. Don’t be too quick to pass judgement. Yes, you will be asked to work with some lackluster individuals, but more commonly your brain is using this is a defense mechanism to help justify your inability to assert yourself.
8. Call upon people you can trust. If you inherit a group that cannot seem to grasp your vision (A.K.A the “B Team”) don’t be afraid to seek help. As mentioned, you are directly responsible for making your boss look good and deliver so get it done!