The Old And In With The New
By Gregg Gregory
One of the great things I like about college sports is the true
teamwork. What is interesting is that with more and more players
turning professional early and not completing their four years of
college, recruiting and keeping the team focused on the mission has
become a real challenge for coaches and athletic directors.
It is a fact – team members change – sometimes they leave of their
own accord and sometimes we offer what I like to call ‘career
re-direction advice’. Regardless, team members change, and the trick
becomes to integrate new members into an existing team successfully?
Let’s look at this from both the perspective of the new employee and
how he or she can acclimate themselves into the team, and then how
we can help acclimate the new employee into our team.
First, if you have been traded to a new team (excuse the sports
metaphor here) what should you do to feel like you are part of the
team quickly? We have all been there – started a new job or position
and not known anyone on the team. Here are a few tips and tricks you
can employ if indeed you find yourself in this position.
Take the initiative to
meet everyone on the team.
Getting to know your new teammates can be fun and when you learn
something about them, and get them to talk about themselves; you
have made deposits into their emotional bank account. Everyone likes
to talk about themselves and when you talk casually you can ask
questions. Now, the true secret is to bank this information. Don’t
retain this so you can manipulate them at a later date – instead
retain this information and use it to build trust and alliances.
Learn as much as you can
about the organization as possible. If this is a new company for you,
then you likely did some online research before the first interview.
Take this several steps further. Know the big picture about the
organization. Having knowledge about the organization is a critical
tool in any employee’s tool belt and when you take the time to know
this information early on you are demonstrating your ability to work
Take the time to get to
know the team as a whole.
Find out about previous successes they have had and yes – find out
some of the failures. Learn what the goals and objectives are for
the future. The more you know, the greater asset you can be to them.
Know the expectations up
Many organizations are weak at sharing very specific expectations up
front. This is critical for you as you want to make sure you are on
track or ahead of schedule. This will show your new team mates that
you are pulling your own weight and this also builds trust among
Help new hires:
Now, as my company grows and we bring on new team members, what can
we do to get the new members up to speed quickly and get them to
feel more comfortable and avoid ‘The Lone Ranger Syndrome’?
Make sure their work area, looks, feels, and is fresh. There is
nothing like coming into a new place and feeling like it is a
fresh start for you only to find a desk that has not been
cleaned out, with condiment packages in the drawers and a phone
that looks and smells horrible.
If possible, get the new teammate his/her computer password so
he can at least get online the first day. Of course it can be
changed later – this shows that you care about getting your
new-hires up to speed.
Assign the new-hire a mentor to help acclimate them to the
surroundings, people, and the way you do things. You may also
want to provide them a mentor as it relates specifically to the
job function they will be doing. Having two mentors accomplishes
a couple of things – they meet more people more quickly, and it
helps the existing staff assume some of the leader roles on the
team and makes them feel better about working there.
If the position allows, you may want the new-hire to work with
different people on the team to learn the different styles and
methods of accomplishing work tasks.
Remember, it is about making sure that everyone knows, trusts, and
respects each other. While you will not likely get everyone to
‘like’ everyone else – it is critical that they trust each other in
order to accomplish the mission, vision, and values of the team,
division, and organization.
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