Just started a new job? Managing a new group? Leading a new project? There are lots of great books to help you with the critical steps for success, and of course you can always read my post, Starting a New Job? Hit the Ground Successful! There is another thing that you should do, however, that isn’t really covered in these sources—or maybe it is something you shouldn’t do.
Wait To Bring In People You Trust
You shouldn’t immediately disregard the people who are there and bring in people who you trust from a former life. You should spend some time and effort evaluating the situation for yourself. Don’t bring in your own experts or colleagues to do that evaluation. Do it yourself. Talk to the people who are there. I see new leaders make the assumption that the people who are there ARE the problem. And that is certainly sometimes the case. It is not true, however, that ALL of the people who are there ARE the problem.
- How long they have been there?
- What roles have they been in?
- Do they seem frustrated with the current situation?
- Are they glad that you are there?
- Can you tell what role previous leadership has had in creating the problem?
- Don’t take other’s opinion at face value. What do YOU think?
- What do THEY think the problem is?
- What do THEY think the solution is?
I see the same thing happen in organizations over and over. The new guy comes in. He brings in a consulting firm to evaluate the organization OR he brings in the guys from the last organization who helped him be successful. Either of these slows things down. The consultants do not get instant cooperation. They take valuable time and then they only provide recommendations (which are sometimes ‘off’ by some percentage) and you still have to figure out how to implement the recommendations (which, of course, the consultants always suggest that you use them). The guys from the last organization take time to hit the ground running and just because their skills and abilities were right in the old organization, they may or may not be right in the new one. And you are only getting other people’s counsel; you aren’t understanding the situation first hand.
Do It Yourself
Do the investigation on your own. Talk to the people in the organization—you need to do that anyway, both to build the trust and relationships and to thoroughly understand the organization. THEN bring in others to help.
Remember, building trust is a two-way street. If you skip that step and just bring in people you’re comfortable with and already trust, then you are likely to be a long-term visitor in your own organization. And that will not lead to long-term success.