I was an alien in France.
I didn’t do much research before traveling there. Couldn’t speak or read the language. Hadn’t studied the geography on the map. In other words, clueless. Completely.
Every day it got a little better. I learned a few words. Read even more. Got my bearings a bit about the culture. Learned more about the history. The more I knew, the richer the experience.
I was especially grateful for the kindness of strangers. Those who would noticed the confused expression and endeavor to get me on the right path. They stood out. They made a difference in my day.
My visit has caused me to reflect on how the “aliens” feel about joining us.
If they don’t have much experience in our kind of setting, they might as well be an American in France.
Our business language may be foreign to the newcomer. Words that are routine to us, may be French to the new guy.
Our signs may not get the job done. Maybe they don’t explain to an “alien” all they should know.
But, the biggest learning may be in how we treat the new guy.
Many of us look at the first days of someone’s employment as a proving time. How smart are they? How quick do they pick things up? It might be fun to watch them struggle a bit.
My experience is opposite of that. Having someone pay attention and take time to make sure I was understanding what was needed made the trip richer and sped my effectiveness in getting back.
When the new teammates are about, distinguish yourself and our team by helping them to “get it” quicker. Everyone can do it. To do so, sets us apart.
By the way, I’m back. Looking forward to getting back in the swing.
PalletOne CEO Howe Wallace
Since 2005, he has been sharing his thoughts on the organization, leadership, and communication in an online daily note to teammates called Daily with HQ.