Chapter 19. Allergic to Wisdom

The first three months at a new job is a delicate time because you are in the “first impression zone” where, whether you like it or not, the judgment factor is impossibly high.

I was a new VP. Treading carefully in meetings. Listening carefully. Not making bold moves. This is my standard operating procedure and I normally follow it for three months minimum until someone says, “When are you getting started?”

I’ve learned to ignore my instant negative knee-jerk reaction to this observation. It’s clear they want to see change; otherwise, why’d they hire me? I understand they want to see that change sooner than later, but I know two things. First, I’ve been doing nothing but getting started with 90 days of intense observation. Second, I’ve learned the perceptions built in the “first impression zone” are instant and hard to change.

There are other odd statements made by my new team in these early days:

Don’t mention your prior company.

No one says it like that. They say, “We’re a unique culture” and other phrases designed to support the notion that this group of humans is blazing a truly original trail. Another one:

No one has ever done this before.

They do actually say that, and they are partially correct. They are proud of what they’ve built and I’m proud to be there, but the idea that this amazing group of humans is going to invent it all as they go is a dangerous and inefficient strategy. There is hard work ahead, and while this group of talented ...

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