Chapter 2. Act Dumb and Think Dirty: the Less You Say, the More You Learn

Kids growing up in tough neighborhoods quickly learn to “act dumb and think dirty.” Mouthing off might make an older, tougher kid think you’re a “wise guy.” So you keep your mouth shut (“act dumb”) and trust no one (“think dirty”). In the meantime, you watch and listen, checking out how others behave, testing their integrity, working out how you fit into the mix.

Such tactics serve adults equally well in any new organizational neighborhood. The less you say when you start a job, the better you position yourself to learn about the organization and how it works, and your new colleagues and how they work together. The early days should be about listening and observing while ...

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