4 Tips to Successfully Start a New Job!

4 Tips to Successfully Start a New Job!

Top 4Just as there is “only one first impression”…so it is with starting a new job. Start off poorly and you will at best be playing catch-up. You wrote and re-wrote your resume, you interviewed  successfully and accepted a job offer. There is still much to do to leverage that job offer into the next step towards a successful career!!

Print this blog post and carry it with you as you begin your new job. Refer to the 4 tips and be sure you follow them!!

1. Introduce yourself to everyone. Especially those in other departments that you run into in the cafeteria, parking lot, hallways, etc. With the same confident smile and handshake you used during all of your interviews. Have an introductory statement “Hi – my name is Robb Mulberger and I am the new controller  here at XYZ.” Make note of their name and ask where they work in the organization if it is not offered. As soon as you can write it down – in fact you can do it right on the spot with the comment “I have met so many new people here – I want to jot down your name to help me get acclimated!” Enter all of these into your contact list but also prepare a typed “cheat sheet” you will carry with you until you know who is who. Always address people by their names – “Hi Bill”…or “Good morning Susan” – not just a simple “Good morning” –  it will impress folks that you took the time to remember their name, especially those you don’t interact with on a regular basis!

2. Be organized. I use Outlook’s calendar feature synced to my iPhone. I make liberal use of the “alert” feature when adding an appointment or task via my iPhone (“reminder” on your PC’s Outlook access) to prevent me forgetting an appointment or pre-determined action to be taken (make a phone call, mail a document, etc.). I also print the Outlook calendar month-by-month for six months and carry it in my briefcase . On it I pencil in appointments since it was printed as I enter them either via my PC or iPhone. Never throw away past months – keep them as a diary of past events. The objective is to be really organized and never miss a task. Get up to speed with your employer’s internal communications processes (email, tele systems, etc.).

3. Create a job reference manual. In addition to the “cheat sheet” list of names and job responsibility you created, make note of other helpful pieces of information such as your new company’s website and site map to find employee information, mission statement, etc. During the interview and hiring process you no doubt determined how you would be evaluated and what the definition of success in your job is. Write this down in bold ….burn it into your brain… so as you go about your job you are focused on what is important to your success.

4. Listen more than you talk … at least during your first few months on the job. Be sure you know the “lay of the land” before you offer any opinions. Few things are more of a turn-off than a new person becoming a know-it-all! Listen and learn how things are done before you chime in.

OK… 4 tips to successfully starting a new job. Follow them and you will get off to a good start to career success!

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Organizational Culture – You Must Understand it for Career Success!

Organizational Culture – You Must Understand it for Career Success!

As your career expands you may well play a role in developing the orgnaizational culture of your employer or perhaps a subset (division, department, etc) of it. If you are an entrepreneur, you ARE the determining factor of your venture’s orgainizational culture. If your job title starts with a “C”, then you have a responsibility to orgcultmaintain and mold the existing organnizational culture. Any way you look at it, organizational culture (or OC for this discussion)  is a deteremining factor for success of all organizations whether they be corporations, law firms, educational institutions, etc.

Lest you doubt that, hear the thoughts of Isadore Sharp, CEO of the Four Seasons Hotel chain: “If you don’t understand the culture of the company, even your most brilliant strategies will fail. Your vision will be resisited, plans won’t get executed properly, and all kinds of things will start going wrong.”

A study by the Econimist Intelligence Unit found: “56% or U.S. executives felt the single greatest obstacle to growth was corporate culture”.

Given its imporatnce to success, let’s examine just what OC is and its impact. The conclusions of those who have studied it are:

1. OC is the basic pattern of shared assumptions, values and beliefs considered to be the correct way of thinking about and acting on problems and opportunities facing the organization. OC is the philosophy that guides the organization’s policies towards employees and customers.

2. OC represents certain predefined policies that guide employees and give them a sense of direction in the workplace. It determines how employees interact in the workplace; it puts them on a common platform of thinking and decision-making.

3. An organization’s culture is the “lens” through which its employees view the world; the “logic” which defines roles and actions; the “grammar” which brings order and makes sense of things. In other words, OC is central to what people see , how they make sense of what they see and how they in turn express themselves.

4. Organizations will ultimately get only as far as their OC will take them

David A. Thomas from the Harvard Business School and Robin J. Ely from Columbia University have extensively studied OC and found the following components to be present in most of the successful organizations they studied:

  • The OC creates expectations of high standards of performance from everyone.
  • The OC encourages debate and constructive conflict.
  • The OC is such that training and education programs nurture personal development.
  • Employees feel valued and are encouraged to apply their background and skills in creative ways to improve the work of the organization.
  • The mission and goals of the organization are well articulated and widely understood, which keeps discussions about differences focused on the organization’s work.
  • The OC and structure are such that people are encouraged to be themselves,      unencumbered by unnecessary bureaucratic systems that control and limit the activities of people within the organization.

Some indicators that the OC requires more than just passing attention would be:

  • Higher than normal turnover and/or unexpected turnover.
  • Such simple indicators as unhappy, unmotivated  and/or disgruntled staff.
  • Projects and plans that sound good initially just don’t progress; people are not taking ownership of them and seeing them through to completion.
  • Staff can’t articulate the organization’s mission and values.
  • Staff senses conflicting messages from senior management.

Very few organizations can’t use a little tune-up to improve their Organizational Culture to; it is of benefit to all if the common values, assumptions and beliefs are shared by all and used as a bias for action. Constant attention is always needed to fine tune and maintain an organization’s culture.

As you evaluate prospective employers, do your best to determine what their OC is and how healthy is it. Successful organizations have healthy OC; those that are not one of the leaders in their segment probably have an unhealthy OC and are to be avoided as a career choice.

And regardless of what your job is today, analyze the OC of your organization and do what you can to strengthen it.

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