by Alan Royal
Mar 30 2016
The manner in which you join the management team of a new organization results in you being branded. How you’re initially perceived at your organization can have material implications to your short and long term success. A mind set-based metaphoric example could be the first time you taste a new fruit: aroma, texture, size, shape, flavour, and overall desire for further purchase represents the subjectivity of being branded. One either likes or dislikes the fruit based upon these subjective measurements.
So the question becomes how do you prepare for and influence how others will initially brand you within your organization. Words like “up and comer,” “great guy,” and “happy to have on-board” represent positive branding. The contra narrative that reflects “worry,” “how is he going to fit in,” and “how will he be effective in our management team” are clearly undesirable. The action points below are presented as a basis for you to optimize your entry brand or perception from the start.
Reflect on your hiring experience. When going through the hiring process, you are selling yourself and your capability into an organizational management role. During this process you are linking your capabilities to how you differentiate yourself in fulfilling specific job specification requirements. This is the normal tactical mind-set used to acquire a position.
While the above is blaringly obvious, what is not is the reflective learning which can come from re-experiencing the hiring process with a different mind-set. Re-experience your hiring process based upon cultural curiosity. Make note of how people dress, interact, exchange ideas, who is in cubes vs. offices, display facial expressions, their aggressiveness, etc. The more you can learn from your experience with the organization and its employees to date, the more you will be able to demonstrate your capability to resonate with the corporate culture quickly and be more easily accepted.
Reinvent yourself daily. I believe it is safe to say that regardless of how much effort has been expended in the hiring process, your initial days of employment will be different from what you expected. This is true for you and your employer.
Since your initial days of employment will be different from what was perceived by both parties, acknowledging this in advance provides you a unique opportunity to embrace this experiential difference as a basis for daily reinvention. By doing this, you can demonstrate your unique capability to rapidly acclimatize yourself within the organization quickly.
Your organization’s upward management, your peers, as well as your subordinates will take notice of your tenacity to quickly operationalize yourself within your new organizational cultural constructs. If you become real and relevant in your new position as quickly as possible, you will reflect to others that you are a true cultural fit for the organization.
Take advantage of low hanging fruit. The faster you demonstrate value-add to your new organization, the more attention, recognition and differentiation you will get. From day one of employment, recognize that you bringing a fresh mind-set, unencumbered by legacy organizational experience. This enables you to uncover areas where you can quickly enable change - viewed by the organization as value-add. The breadth and depth of the value-add that you quickly create will be a material differentiator for yourself within the organization as compared to others.
Keep on networking. In virtually every organization, there are individuals who are branded as “up and comers,” or the “future organizational leaders.” In contrast, the remainder of individuals are mostly viewed as “steady state” leaders. From day one, through self-observation, careful listening and general observation, quickly identify who the “up and comers” are and network with them.
Present yourself to these individuals as a relevant asset to network and interact with. In so doing, you immediately attach yourself to the “up and comer” vs. “steady state” individuals. Over time, through this network, you can become organizationally identified as an “up and comer.” The value of this differentiated branding is material. You'll become a major league player vs. a farm club player. It’s an entirely different playing field.
Continue your evolution repeatedly. From day one of employment, mark your calendar with dates and times for reflection and evolution on a repetitive basis. During these scheduled times, stand in the moment and reflect on “what can I learn from self-assessing my performance to date?” “What have I done right, what can I do better, and what have I done which has added no value.” Mentally take yourself through the 360 degree review process. Self-imagine how others likely perceive your performance (the good, the bad and the ugly) as a basis to evolve your performance. Through these firmly established points of self-assessment, you can continue to self-evolve yourself, stay ahead of, and influence the outcome of performance reviews.
Identify your optimal brand identity outcome. Through learning from the hiring experience, you are able to enter an organization and quickly be viewed as a relevant and meaningful management asset. Through early on daily reinvention, you further differentiate yourself as an evolving, ever learning, management asset who stands out among your peers. Through recognizing and interacting against low hanging fruit you differentiate yourself as a management asset who can rapidly demonstrate value add to the organization. Through networking with the “up and comers,” you are further evolving yourself as basis to become relevant to the organizational “up and comers.” Through repetitive evolution, you demonstrate you are a self-evolving management asset, who learns and evolves their upward relevance to an organization.
By embracing and acting upon these branding differentiators, you will the go to person who can be counted on to get the job done. This is the brand which you should seek to achieve.