I’ve been coaching/mentoring a very talented broadcast media and communications pro who is starting a new job today. I’ve been thinking about the advice I should give her. In fairly short order, I’ve come up with a couple things I think she (or anyone else) should focus on as she starts her new job. Here’s what I’ve told her:
- Reinvent Yourself
- Know Yourself
- Enjoy The Ride
1. Reinvent and Incorporate Your 2020 Vision. It’s been said that on the very first day, the employee and company will look the best they will ever be to each other – and then its all downhill from there. I don’t believe this to be true but you will definitely see warts that you didn’t see during the interview process, but then nor has the company seen your warts. This is where your 2020 Vision (five years from today) comes in on Day One.
- What’s your desired 2020 role? I’ve always told mentees that you should be looking for your next job on Day One of your new job! Sounds harsh but in reality, you always need to be working forward. So, what’s your roadmap look like between 2015 and 2020? I always start with the vision output, the desired goal, and work backwards. How is this job/role going to help close gaps between today and your five year goal?
- Identify the attributes or skills that you need to develop or conversely, change and reinvent. Do a simple Start, Stop, and Continue exercise. What do you need to start doing to gather the skills necessary to move toward your goal? What do you stop doing? What were you labeled with in previous roles that you need to shed? This is a great opportunity to clean your closet. This is your chance, don’t blow this opportunity! Finally, what are the things you need to continue? These are the skills you’ve been recognized for in the past that are relevant in your 2020 Vision. Focus on leveraging your strengths and managing your weakness.
2. Know Yourself Well. Most people don’t spend the time to understand what makes them tick during usual behavior and in stress situations. I’ve been through extensive personality assessments and so have many others. An easy and free way to get a quick snapshot is the Myers-Briggs Personality Type. First, there are many supporters of Myers-Briggs but there are also a number of detractors. It is a very basic snapshot of who you are and how you tick. It takes 10-15 minutes start to finish at one of many free web sites to get a brief overview. I’d highly recommend this if you have never done it. Google “Myers Briggs” or “16 Personalities” and you’ll find free quick 10-15 minute surveys.
So the most important part of knowing yourself well in this context is that you can identify when and where you might get put into a challenging situation and you should have a personal action plan on how to deal with it. Look, if you are an introvert working with a bunch of extroverts, or you’re an engineer or producer and asked to work with the on-camera talent, there is going to be moments of tension and friction. It’s important to know what makes you tick and how to identify and deal with the stress before you exhibit your stress behavior. Not saying all stress behavior is bad but knowing how to deal with it puts you way ahead of the game. Look, learning how to deal with stress is where the pro’s come in and not left with those of us who play a doctor on LinkedIn. Here’s where I’ll leave it….you can’t avoid stress but you can recognize it, manage it, and thrive.
3. Have Fun! Look, life is a journey and you need to enjoy the ride. Whether it’s celebrating a big closed sale, a ratings jump, or conversely, a lost opportunity, a lost election, or a ratings decline, these are all formative and you need to recognize it and celebrate the opportunity to learn from it. You need to embrace and love this first day in your new role. It’s a great chance to start a step in your career with a smile and set the tone for the amazing opportunities ahead of you. Especially on that first day. Who doesn’t love a smile?!
So that’s it my friend. Enjoy your first day!
You have very few first days in a 40 year career – and it’s a very special opportunity that you can’t let pass without recognizing how very cool those first hours and days can be.
Mike McNamara is the Vice President leading the Vertical Industry Leaders and Key Client teams at Equifax. Mike has his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Follow Mike on Twitter.