We have a new manager. I wonder what she is like? I wonder what she is thinking? Does she even know what we do? Why does the opinion of someone from the outside always mean more than everything we know? Does she really know what she is doing? Is she going to make changes? Is it going to be painful? Do I trust this person? I don't know whether to support this person, or to just keep my head down, or to start looking for a new job…
I learned an important lesson when I was in my first big leadership role. When stepping in to lead the team, I was the suspicious, new person from outside. Although I had a pretty good, big-picture plan for what I wanted to accomplish, I admit I was thinking, Hmmm, but what exactly should I be doing? Where should I start?
My first thought was to look at the roles and the work of all the people who reported to me and start trying to optimize that in one way or another, but I knew in my gut that that was not the right answer. That was their job. I knew I should be driving strategy that spanned the whole organization—but what would that look like exactly on Tuesday?
I was lucky to have a mentor who told me the secret: “Talk to everybody and you'll know what to do.”
So I talked to everybody.
In my first two weeks on the job I did eighty one-on-one meetings. It was exhausting! But it was hugely ...