May 07, 2012

5 Savvy Ways to Start a New Job Congratulations you are starting a new job. You’ve got a new outfit, a new attitude and a new paycheck. Be sure you start smart and savvy by being conscious of your surroundings and by managing your expectations. It’s not easy being the new guy. You’re psyched. They’re psyched. But nobody knows what’s really coming next. You gilded the lily and radiated energy and intention in all those interviews. They did too. Everyone was on their best behavior. Now you’ll see them in their native habitat. Some will maintain the façade longer than others, but soon you’ll get a glimpse or a massive dose of reality. Nobody ever really knows what he or she is getting into until they are in-place, fully present with all political and emotional sensors on high alert. To insure you get off to a smart, savvy and successful start, focus on these 5 factors Expect Differences. No two organizations do things the same. You’ll see stuff that’s cool and stuff that’s nutty. Your IT and email set-up will be different. So will time sheets, reporting, status, phones, etc. Don’t be shocked. Take it all in. Maintain an even keel. Don’t make faces. Try to understand why they do it that way. If there’s no good reason, accept it. You are not going to change attitudes, processes or idiosyncrasies anytime soon. So suck it up. Decide that whatever they do and however they do it will be okay. Go with the flow. Don’t make demands or comparisons to your old job. Don’t be a Diva. Your new bosses and teammates want you to fit in. Don’t disappoint them by freaking out or by telling them how outdated, silly or counter-productive their act is. Get the Back Story. You’ve joined a sitcom in-progress. Find out what went on before you showed up and what people think will happen next. You got hired. But you don’t really know if they think you are the Messiah or if you were 3rd choice. Disconnect your ego and find out as much about the context of your hiring as you can. You might think you’re there to shake things up or to add some special measure of expertise. If you are the first new guy after a hiring freeze, expectations could be unrealistically high. You might be replacing either a super star or a screwball, either of which will prompt comparisons and early judgments. Chances are somebody there thinks you’ve arrived to be their bitch and somebody else has already lined up all the stuff they hate to do as your first assignments. The more you understand the back story; the easier the transition. Smile & Keep Your Mouth Shut. Smile and be happy. You have a new job. But don’t pretend you’ve joined a love cult. People work out all kinds of needs at work. You can’t effectively negotiate the currents till you understand who’s who and where they are coming from. This requires considerable restraint. Everyone is curious about the new guy. Develop a simple story punctuated with some personal details and tell it. Then shut up, watch and listen. Identify who likes who, who has the real power or influence. Try to figure out the tribes and cliques around you. Don’t join any group till you really know who’s in it and how they operate. You’re like a new prisoner in the yard. Don’t join or annoy the Crips or the Bloods. Don’t speculate about what’s going on. Stifle the urge to dissect, psychoanalyze, explain or describe your new insights to your new colleagues since you’ll invariably be wrong and piss someone off. Do not become an office gossip. It’s the kiss of death. Talk to your roommate, your partner or even your Mom, but keep mum in the office until you feel confident you have the true lay of the land. Remember, new hires can be broomed in 90-120 without much cause, so don’t make enemies unnecessarily. Be Straight with Your Boss. Ask for clear directions, priorities and assignments. Ask the boss what success looks like. Get agreement on your personal KPIs and understand how your work will be evaluated. Be sure to get clear direction on deadlines, reports, statuses, and how much or how little to involve him or her in each of your projects. Some bosses are organized, self-aware and straightforward. Others aren’t. Some are very friendly. Some are distant. You’ll know right away which your boss is so calibrate your response and figure out how...
6 Social Media Tactics from al-Qeada Consumers have always been brand stakeholders. People have always liked, shared, interacted and promoted brands they find useful or identify with. In the olden days, brand advocacy was done face to face or over the phone at a small, disconnected scale. Brand marketers had the illusion of control. They believed they set the brand agenda and directed the brand evolution. Social media changed all that. Social media holds up a mirror to the brand asking, “Who are you and what do you stand for?” says Cindy Gallop. More importantly social media gives consumers a direct stake in the evolution of a brand. Two-way conversation invites consumers into dialog and, in June Cohen’s view, delivered at Mashable Connect, “lets others grab onto it and lets others run with it … a band without followers is just a lame idea.” The co-creation of a brand promises to add more real-time intelligence, infuse more real emotion and “create collaboration and collective buy-in between founders, stewards, fans and advocates.” “Imagine” June wonders, drawing on the lessons from the development of the TED brand, “if brand fans and advocates were enrolled and empowered to develop messages and engagement programs versus a handful of marketers sitting in a dark room worrying about how to control the brand and stave off unintended consequences?” The possibilities for openness, broad scale sharing, harnessing genuine enthusiasm and loyalty or mobilizing a larger brand community multiply. The trade offs are control for conversation and centralization for dispersion. The new distributed branding model might be taken directly from the al-Qaeda playbook; enroll and mobilize discrete groups of brand advocates to develop relationships and conversations in their own way targeted to their own niches with an overarching common goal. Let loose the reins and enable the true believers to spread the word on your behalf in their own time and way. Accept the idea that there are many paths to goodness and let them play out. Understand the brand’s marketing program as the backbone of an otherwise amorphous multi-headed creature that will make its way into the culture virally carrying and advancing the brand message. Accept the notion that marketers do not have a monopoly on good ideas. Should you be brave enough to countenance al-Qaeda-like brand governance, use June Cohen’s six rules of the road to “become more of a brand steward and less of a brand dictator” while keeping in loose touch with your disconnected cells of fervent followers. Feed the hunger for participation. People want to belong and contribute, especially people who use and care for your brand. Let them join up and figure how best to participate on their own terms. Encourage sharing and viral connections. Let the word spread organically. More sharing = more advocacy=deeper brand relationships. Listen to users. They know the brand as well or better than you. They know where you should go, what you should do next and how you should frame the message. Users can be your brand compass. Mine their ideas. Co-create the brand. Reach everywhere. Embrace channels, platforms, devices and changing media habits. Let the word go out in whatever form and to whatever device it naturally reaches. Let the brand advocates run with the ball. Accept adaptation and experimentation and embrace the ideas that work best. Tell a good story. Without strong storytelling, your brand will die of loneliness. Your story must be distinctive enough to break through the clutter. Arm your advocates with content that they can adapt and share in a variety of contexts. Provide clear strict guidelines. Enforce them. Develop repercussions for those who break the rules or violate the brand’s core tenets. Regulate advocate activities one at a time.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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