One of the bigger challenges when you enter a new situation is that you will have new peers most of the time. I have had the occasion to have a role that I used to call “Executive Without Portfolio.” Beyond my normal duties, I would be given assignments to handle or fix something in specific. Generally this included hiring my own replacement.
But other times, I have ended up with a different group of peers. Sometimes, I have known the others to a greater or lesser degree. Sometimes not at all. The challenge is that the company has a style and personality that already exists. By joining, you change the situation – hopefully for the positive. The thing is that no matter how you look at it the balance in the organization will have changed.
On top of the change in balance, you are going to be changing things. That means the way you work with other groups is probably impacted. This will cause unplanned work for other organizations. So just by stepping in the door you are likely to upset the plans of your peers.
All of this means that you have to act with care. To do so there are two things you need to do: Build Relationships and Listen to Problems. Building Relationships is just that simple. You need to spend time and energy getting to know your peer group. This is best done outside a strictly business environment, like a lunch or a dinner to start. This is just part of a trust building exercise. Because you are going to have to present the work you are intending to them at some point in a work context. If you can have a non-stressful start, if makes the more challenging dealings easier.
The Listen to Problems bit has two variants. Your peers (or at least 1 of them) are going to want you to make changes in your groups personnel or processes. Some of that may conflict with the plans that you want to go forth with. So it is important that you listen actively to the requests. You may be able to solve the request in the way offered or in a different way. But the goal is to understand that you need to balance the needs of the two groups. Find the pain points that the other person has. This may lead to improvements and changes to your own initiatives.
Your peer group will be very important in this new gig. They present to you an opportunity to learn more about the informal organization and help introduce you to other important figures within the company. So Build Relationships and Listen to Problems!
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