Question: How can I master the dynamics in a new organization?

I have recently joined a new organization in a support role (Quality/ Six Sigma). Success in my role depends on engaging my peers and their subordinates to get multiple parallel projects going.

I had minimal handoff with my predecessor who was on her way out of the company. So far I have had lunch conversations with my boss and peers, but often the information they share suggest conflicting agendas.

What would be a good way for me to understand the way things work in my new organization and form effective alliances?









7 Expert answers





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62 answers

Since you're after collaboration then get collaborative. Pose your challenge to the others around you in  a generic sense with neutral language and ask them how they would solve the problem. What that may do is give them an experience of you respecting their input and that will build trust which is the foundation of collaboration.

Second, allow time. you're a newbie to them so the other animals in the forest need to sniff you out and adjust to your presence. You didn't build your personal friendships overnight, they deepened with time so give the whole thing some time. Remember ever ecosystem has to adapt to a new element in it.

Lastly, be real. be genuine and don't play chameleon simply to get into the crowd. If they see that you are A. integrous, and B. congruent, and C. consistent, then they'll know what they can count on.

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26 answers

A quick answer: listen well, especially for shared purpose across groups.  When you have the opportunity to guide the conversation towards those overarching goals, and away from divisive gossip, do so--not by making people wrong, just by what you demonstrate in your focus.  Build trust by being impeccable in your word, and showing openness and vulnerability and willingness to take good risks as people get to know you.  As you understand others' needs, be a resource in that context.

Most people focus on activity, not outcomes.  And that's where the greatest conflict lies, because people get attached to their strategies.  That's why focusing on what the organization is trying to accomplish as a whole, rather than what it's doing as individual parts, will help.

Of course, you'll be changing the dynamics of the organization, not just understanding it.  If you merely want to fit in, that's not my strong suit.

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10 answers

The early days with an organization are incredibly important.  I take that you understand this from your question about let's just call it: "the first 90 days" or so. Many managers feel pressured to make an immediate impact and I agree that one can build momentum with a few quick wins. However, that may be easier said than done. Having worked with many leaders who have transitioned in ways that were successful or not so much, I can say this:

listen well and tread lightly at first
recognize that there will be multiple dynamics at play
know that all eyes will be on you
clarify and confirm what you believe the most important strategic initiatives are
make no assumptions
verify and validate your data and it's sources
resist the temptation to refer to the way things were done at your "old company"

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Curtis Swisher

Notice who the influencers are. Invite them to lunch one at a time saying, "I'd like to buy you lunch in exchange for your advice." People love free lunch and they love to give advice. Ask questions such as, "What are the secrets for success in this organization?" You'll get a valuable education for relatively little investment in time and money.

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Paul Coulter

Successfully engage with your peers and their subordinates and get multiple parallel projects going.

Be great at what you were hired to do and the dynamics will take care of themselves.  Master your responsibilities and spend less time on mastering the dynamics in your new organization.

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6 answers

Ask questions.
Listen, listen, listen.
Don't assume.
Ask what has worked.
Ask what has not worked.
Ask what they would have done differently.
Be open, reliable, become trustworthy.

Good luck!

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26 answers

As a new leader to the company, your first responsibility is to assess the organization you joined, including the culture. Then you need to set your strategy and align it with corporate and cross functionally. It is in this process of alignment that your conversations need to be brought up and discussed with your peers.

if you've not had a chance to do your strategy with your team, consider having a facilitated event.

Outside of this, many great suggestions were offered above.

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