You're likely going to have a new co-worker soon — maybe several of them. Whether someone new steps into your workplace or you're changing jobs yourself, the introduction of someone new into the workplace is like the arrival of a present. Everyone wants to peel back the wrapping and see what's inside. Over the years, I've learned a few important principles.
When you see a new guy settling into your company, offer to serve as his advisor. Be available to help him with everything from the best lunch place nearby to reading the CEO's moods. At this early stage when he doesn't know your company's ways, he's particularly grateful for friendly guidance, wisdom and warmth, and a mentor-mentee relationship could evolve. Remember you don't have to be older to be a mentor, just wiser about something important to the mentee.
But what if you're the new guy yourself? You've got a rare chance to make new relationships and even start over. Remember how cool that was heading off to college!
- Never again will you have a better excuse to talk to someone — in the elevator, in the cafeteria. Say "Hi! I'm new here, I'm …." And have a ready question that is sincere and interesting. You will start connecting and quickly build a reputation for being friendly and approachable.
- Talk to the boss. Dr. Mark Goulston — a psychiatrist, one of my business partners at FerrazziGreenlight, and the author of Get Out of Your Own Way at Work — says that when you start a new job, ask your boss to name three things that you should always do and three that you should never do. You can also ask your co-workers. Just say, "Do you have a second? Love to hear the top three DOs and DON'Ts around here!" The answers will give you a shortcut to understanding how the company works.
- Help everyone. When I started at Deloitte, my mentor Greg Seal told me, "Stop driving yourself and everyone else crazy about how to make yourself successful. Start thinking about how you're going to make everyone around you successful." I shifted my focus away from myself and toward the needs of other people. They became more loyal and productive, and we all flourished. By the way, Greg and I have remained friends and today he is on my board of directors, still giving me great advice.
- Become an expert. I started work at Imperial Chemical Industries when the business world was discovering a movement called Total Quality Management. I studied TQM and became one of ICI's leaders in implementing it throughout North America. When I went to Deloitte, Re-Engineering the Corporation was important, so I became the company's authority on re-engineering, worked on Deloitte's international development efforts on the subject, and got to know its creator, Michael Hammer. You can do the same thing. Explore the needs and attitudes of your company's leaders, and master the skills and ideas that can help them the most.
A final note: Remember, whether you're a company's founder or its newest hire, the debut of a new employee is usually a little rare and always special. So enjoy and capitalize on the initial excitement and opportunity, make sure to connect, and you're on the way to success.