Remember those first few days on a new job? You were officially onboarded, and signed a lot of forms. You learned all the basic processes and policies that new employees need to know. And you got the big picture of the organization’s mission, vision, values, and culture. Your head is spinning by the end of day one and even week one, but everyone is patient with you. They recognize that it is a lot to take in.
In that early period when you are introduced to lots of people, everyone is so happy to see you. Everyone is offering to help you get up to speed, and do whatever they can to make your onboarding smooth.
And then you realize they all need something from you. They all think you can solve all the problems. But you are still given some time before you start waving your magic wand.
You’re on a honeymoon. It will be measured in days or weeks but usually not months. You must drink from the firehose, get to know all the key people, and start adding value. “Proving yourself,” as they say.
You may have relocated, so you’re also getting to know your new town.
It can be exhilarating and overwhelming all at the same time.
Sometimes you know exactly when the honeymoon is over. An interaction happens that is so unpleasant you may wonder why you decided to join that organization and group of people. Or you might suspect that something expected of you is so unrealistic that you are being set up to fail.
In time, people start getting more honest with you. They no longer must sell you on the organization and the job. They feel it’s their duty to tell you the ugly history of something, or how crazy they think some things are.
If you are in a position to make changes, you should welcome this honesty. Understanding the history and what doesn’t work well will help you identify what improvements are needed — it’s up to you to do something with it.
No organization is without its issues. There are always opportunities for improvement. It’s a matter of finding and understanding them, learning the history to the extent it is useful, and figuring out your role in making it better.
I started another interim CIO engagement this week, so I’m in the early days of the honeymoon period. I have been warmly welcomed by a group of very friendly executives and IT leaders. Their expectations of me are high, as they should be. I look forward to finding those opportunities for improvement in my time with them the next several months.