I recently took on a new role in a new business. I knew a handful of my new colleagues through my involvement in Emerson's Women in STEM group, but otherwise I stepped into an entirely new world. A world where I had little familiarity with the organization or how to get things done. For me, gaining a deeper level of understanding in my early days was and continues to be important. I know that doing so can help make a deeper impact on the team and gain stronger footing in the organization.
My approach to getting settled was to organize my learning into a few key buckets: People, Product, Process and Politics.
People: It’s important to quickly develop relationships with individuals you’ll be working with. You’ll want to understand nuances about people's jobs – things that you won't find in their job description.
Knowing “your people,” can create deeper connections, help you build a more cohesive team and can greatly facilitate collaboration down the road. Here is a great article if you’re coming into a managerial position: New Manager Ice Breakers: 6 Awesome Ways to Connect with New Employees.
Product: The depth of product knowledge you'll need will vary depending on your role and business function but regardless of position, you should have a basic working knowledge of your business' products, services and/or solutions.
Regardless of your role, consider what aspects of the product you need to understand to be most effective, then go find the right people and ask your questions. Understanding your organization’s products, services and solutions will help you contribute to business discussions and will you ability to 'speaking the language' will help you build credibility.
Process: In some jobs and organizations, processes are clearly outlined. In others, you’ll need to do more wayfaring to figure out standard procedures.
Upon receiving the offer for this position, I pulled out my copy of The First 90 Days to begin reflecting on this change which provided a great framework for getting over the process learning curve.
Politics: Politics isn't a dirty word! In fact, I could call this section "cultural norms" but it doesn't start with a P. Learning business politics goes hand in hand with learning about people and processes.
When you have fresh eyes, you have a unique ability to see opportunities that exist within an organization. I recommend documenting your early insights. These little nuggets of information could turn into bigger ideas down the road. As you grow in your career, there is less of a roadmap for how to do a job and sometimes you may even lack direction on what needs to be done. There are always opportunities within a job description where the author as left room for interpretation. Success will come to those who view areas that aren't black and white as opportunities to identify improvements, enhancements, or even grow the business.
Have you recently started a new role? Share how you overcame some of your challenges or provide the tips you employed to ramp up on information by replying below.