Craig starts a new job this week. He’s done his homework. He’s read all the key strategic documents and plans, and already knows where he can make the biggest impact. On the advice of his mentor and former boss Gerry, Craig is after a Quick Win.
“Get a quick win,” Gerry told him, “and you’ll be golden.”
Craig already knows what the quick win will be: A new product feature that will make the customer experience five percent faster than it currently is.
Confident and excited, Craig sets up get-to-know-you meetings with each of his colleagues and direct reports. And in each meeting, he blows them away with all his past successes, his thoughts about his new company’s products and strategies as well as his plan for the new product feature. He's got this, he assures them. Things are going to get much better.
But the meetings don’t go as Craig planned. He’s met with resistance. More than one colleague pushes back against his product idea, stating all the reasons it couldn’t possibly work, and why five percent faster is not really a priority for the company anyway. By the end of the week, with his quick win in tatters, Craig is wondering if he’s made a big mistake. Maybe this isn’t the right company for him after all.
Lauren is also starting a new job this week. She too has done her homework. She’s read all the key strategic documents and plans. She has some ideas about where she might have an impact and is eager to meet her colleagues and direct reports.
Like Craig, Lauren sets up get-to-know-you meetings. And in each meeting, after a little chit-chat, she asks a lot of questions.
What are your priorities for the year?
What is the greatest challenge you’re facing?
What’s working well?
How can I and my department help you?
How has my department succeeded and failed in the past?
What do you think should be my priority for the next six to twelve months?
How can I help you get a quick win?
The meetings are long and fruitful. By the end of the week, Lauren has a game plan for several quick wins. Her colleagues and reports are terrific people. She's confident she’s made the right career move.
What did Lauren know that Craig didn’t?
In your first week, your job isn’t to show everyone how smart you are. It’s to let them show you how smart they are.
Ultimately, Craig's search for a quick win was cynical. It was all about him, his reputation and his advancement. He failed to even consider that his colleagues might know a thing or two.
Ugh. Who wants to work with that guy?
People want to be heard, and they want to be validated. This is how trust is built. And trust is everything. If your new colleagues trust that you respect and value their views, intelligence and experience, and that you’ve taken their ideas and wishes into consideration, they’ll be much more likely to buy into your plans, and to move mountains to help you implement them.
Think of it this way: What would impress your new boss more; a small product change, or all of your colleagues rushing to tell her what a great hire you were?
Talk about a quick win.