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Your First Impression - Make it a Good One!

We all know first impressions are important in our personal lives, but they are just as important (if not more so) in our professional lives.

What 'first impression' did your organization make on you? What about the leaders there, the managers, your peers?  Most likely these impressions impacted you in a way that drove your behaviors at work and also drove your desire to perform to your peak.

Exemplary organizations realize that to remain exemplary, to remain on top of their game, they need employees who don’t just do their job, but go above and beyond. My clients have heard me say many times that if they have employees coming to work for a paycheck they are doing something wrong!  It’s not just the employees fault if they aren’t enthusiastic and aren’t eager to ‘do more’, it’s usually the fault of the organization as a whole, and in turn upper management.  

Managers need to harness the excitement of their people, give them challenging and rewarding work to do, show them their appreciation for a job well done, and reward the right behaviors (so those behaviors will be replicated).  By doing these things employees will not just do the minimum to keep getting their paycheck, but will do more because they will know that they are appreciated and they will be doing something that is self-validating.

So, how does this relate back to the idea of first impressions?   Well, it all starts with the on-boarding process.  On-boarding is not just about telling new hires where the bathroom is located and what forms they need to fill out, it’s about setting a tone; setting a tone for expectations, setting a tone for relationships, and setting a tone for overall culture.  When the on-boarding process in an organization is weak the new hire feels confused, unsupported, and unappreciated, when it is strong, however, the new hires’ enthusiasm will be fostered, their excitement cultivated, and their anticipated satisfaction strengthened.   All this leads to an employee who goes ‘above and beyond’ and in turn an organization that thrives.

Now, not all of you reading this are hiring managers, and many of you aren’t even managers, so what can you do to help create a positive climate where employees work smarter, harder, and better?  Think back to the first impressions you had when you entered into your new organization, were the people inviting?  Did they give you a positive (but realistic) impression of the organization?  Did they help you get acclimated and learn about organizational expectations?  If so, then you have some great models to follow; if not, you know what you need to do when the next newbie comes to you and says hello. 

Remember, no matter what position you are in, you are part of someone's first impression of their new organization…make it a good one!

Keep Leading!


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