Starting out as a grad? 4 tips for landing on your feet!

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It’s February and we’re in the thick of graduate onboarding season across the corporate landscape. I was a grad back in 2005 and started facilitating my first grad program in 2006. I’ve had a soft spot for helping early stage talent land on their feet and get a good start to their career ever since.

As the dust starts to settle on that fancy onboarding program in week one and the reality of fitting into a new business sets in, here are my tips for landing on your feet and getting settled in.

These tips are offered to new graduates, but they are relevant to anyone starting out in a new role at any stage of career.

Tip 1: Respect what came before you

You’re joining a business that somebody had the passion and took the risk to start. It may still be a small business or it may be a massive corporation. Regardless, a lot of work went in before you got there.

You’re bound to have lots of great ideas with your fresh set of eyes. When you think about sharing those ideas, keep in mind that your idea sits on the shoulders of giants and just acknowledge the historical context as part of the idea.

Tip 2: Validate difference in others

If there is one thing I wish I could have learnt at the start of my career it is that we’re all different. I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but I wasn’t looking out for it and I definitely wasn’t present to the unique needs and preferences of others around me.

I would have built stronger relationships and trust with the people around me if I had been able to lean into the preferences of others and go into their world before I tried to drag them in to my world.

I would recommend exploring assessments like VIA Character Strengths, MBTI, DiSC, etc. to build your own self-awareness and consciousness of others.

Tip 3: Default to curiosity

When you’re keen, excited and full of great ideas it can be easy to default into being a ‘teller’ of things rather than an ‘asker’.

It didn’t take me long to learn that when I had a great idea that seemed pretty straight forward, there was an existing reason within the system that was a barrier to the idea. Something that I didn’t have enough broad organisational knowledge to have ever known.

By seeking to understand the broader context of situations, you can address barriers early and be in a position to frame your ideas in a way that addresses the deeper root cause for the things you’re noticing!

Tip 4: Forget ‘Personal Brand’ and start thinking ‘how do people experience me?’

‘Personal Brand’ is very 2001! Just the concept of developing a personal brand is pretty self-serving in my humble opinion. Rather than having a focus on self, I recommend thinking about the way that people experience you.

Do they walk away from interactions with you feeling validated, respected and excited about the thing that you will be doing together? That is your personal brand – the consistency with which people experience you!

I recommend doing some research on Patrick Lencioni’s ‘Ideal Team Player’ model. There are only three components – humble, hungry and smart. The book is worth your time investment!

Now… get started!

It’s time to get into your new role, in your new organisation, in your new career stage. Exciting times!

Final thought – mastery of the job skills will come. Lots of people will support you on the journey, and in time you’ll support others. Invest your initial efforts in learning about the people and the context of the business. You’ll feel like part of the team quick smart and then you can become the expert… …

If this post got you thinking and you want to move to action but not sure of your first step, book a free 10 minute POWER-chat with Lachlan to work through your ideas – Click here

Lachlan’s commitment to helping people succeed in the future of work is driven by core values of inclusive leadership, strength-based growth, development for all, customer-led design, and deep relationships.

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