by Lim Zhi Rong
Everyone of us would go through this at some point in our life, especially if you have switched companies during your career.
Joining another company is akin to an organ transplant. Get it right, you get a new life. Get it wrong, you're rejected by the host/body and will be unable to survive.
I have been a MCR for a couple of times in my career. And in this article, I seek to share in 1-2-3 what are some useful tips that I've learned over the years (and I wished someone would have told me so that I wouldn't have to learn it from the university of hard-knocks in real life!):
1. Ease into the company and relationships you need to build
You'll have numerous relationships to build in a new company; with your colleagues, your direct reports if you're managing a team, your boss and maybe even your boss' boss. The truth is don't lose yourself trying to be Mr. Popular, having lunch with everyone in your first 90 days.
Think incrementally. Pick only a few that you can do deep, and seek meaningful coaching with.
Find the natural historians in the company, people who have been with the company for a long time and humbly learn from them the ways of working and how to navigate the organization.
2. Be Honest
Most people understand the difficulty of speaking the truth to people of power, authority or influence. Yet most professionals depends at first on relative strangers for fresh, unbiased feedback.
Look for opportunities where you can provide helpful views and express them in candor, helping colleagues, bosses and your direct reports to see the solution they never saw internally. You were recruited from outside because they needed fresh blood and external perspective.
Be honest, be authentic and create an impactful first connection as a MCR by finding suitable opportunities to diplomatically share stories of how things are done in your previous life.
Clearly, you shouldn't be trumpeting about your previous company's achievement. The key here is balance - if you didn't bring any perspectives as a MCR, they might as well have recruited someone internally. And if you overdo the other way and kept on saying "When I was with Goldman Sachs, I used to ...", people will get tired and question, "If Goldman Sachs were so good, why did you left to join us?".
3. Accommodate People's Preferences
There is an old saying, "Treat people the way you like to be treated". I say, "Treat people the way they like to be treated". You may argue the latter is political and not staying true to your values and principles.
The key here is to ease in, without losing yourself.
I am not asking MCRs to be political animals and start behaving like a chameleon at work. It is about understanding cultural differences, understanding why in Dubai, people do not enjoy having meetings on a Friday because it is not their working day. It is about being sensitive to your Muslim colleagues who needs to spend some time on a Friday afternoon for a prayer session. It is about understanding why an introverted colleague would not be too happy if you thrust him/her into the limelight as a topic of a casual conversation over lunch.
The more you can learn about how each and everyone likes to be treated, the faster you can establish a sense of connection with your new found friends at work as a MCR. There will be time for your work agenda after you have built a solid relationship.
Remember, the stakes are high as a MCR when you join a new company. You left your previous company, your previous status quo, your comfort zone for a hopefully greener pasture. Fit in early, don't wait for others to come to you.
I hope this article has been helpful and I hope as MCR, you ease in without losing yourself. With that, all the very best to all MCRs out there in the corporate world...