Six Simple Ways To Discover The Real Culture Of The Organisation (And Figure Out If You Belong)

Six Simple Ways To Discover The Real Culture Of The Organisation (And Figure Out If You Belong)

“The new graduate is not good. But no one will tell him that. My colleagues just say that, ‘you are doing ok’ when he asks, and drag the word ok. The poor guy does not know there are things he needs to improve on..” This is what a young professional recently told me. This is an example of the need to read signals and behaviours of the people around you to understand how you are faring in an organisation. Reflecting on the situation, I thought, “The poor young graduate will have a rude awakening one day when the organisation lets him go before the probation period is complete. He would be none the wiser about what he needed to improve.” Recognising the social and political dynamic of an organisation needs to be exercised from the moment you start working on your new job. This is all part of your emotional intelligence; it gives you insight into the unsaid and helps you modify your behaviour in response to the situation. It is essential to understand what the real culture of an organisation is. This may be different from what is published or marketed. It is how things really get done within the organisation. How can you know the real culture of an organisation?   1.Observe what behaviours are held in high esteem. Some examples might be collaboration and teamwork, versus meeting your goals at any cost. This is easy to pick up, as you will hear leaders in the organisation hold up such behaviours as the ones to emulate.  2.Observe what behaviours fly under the radar or what behaviours are...
5 Step Guide to Personal Branding

5 Step Guide to Personal Branding

“Personal branding is how others describe you when you are not in the room. This is what my mentor told me some time ago” This profound statement was what a young professional told me last week. My initial impression of personal branding was that individuals were in total control of this process. My view has broadened after listening to this observation. Personal branding is a two way process. One side is the work that an individual does to establish their personal brand, the other side is how others perceive this individual. The ideal situation would be when the individual’s perspective aligns with others perspective. If there is little alignment then the individual has a problem. “That presentation was a joke. He has no idea about what is happening at our level” “I know she thinks she is wonderful at sales but I find her very aggressive and domineering” Comments such as these can be heard in organisations around the country on a daily basis. These are classic examples of how individuals are not on the same page as the people around them. These individuals need to be self-aware and move to correct perception to build a strong personal brand. How do you build your Personal Brand? 1. Know yourself Understand your values, strengths, skills and development needs. These are the fundamental building blocks that create perception with others. You have to be very clear about what you would like to be known for. Knowing yourself is not an easy process. It can take time to identify your core values and your development needs. Time and experience will help in...
5 Things To Help You Assess Your Future Boss

5 Things To Help You Assess Your Future Boss

“I never forgot the first boss I had. She really taught me a lot and took the time to just speak to me. I got to do many interesting and challenging things in my time with her.” You do not hear this very often from individuals. In fact, getting the right boss is like what Forrest Gump said – “You never know what you get” Having that sponsor and guide in your first job will set up for growth and development. You will be able to develop skills such as communication, challenging status quo and problem solving in a safe and supportive environment. You will also be motivated to master your job and perform at your peak to please your boss. The problem is, how do you assess if the hiring manager is going to be a good boss? During an interview, they seem to have all the power in the conversation. You are concentrating on collecting your thoughts, answering the questions and controlling your nerves. Here are some insights that will help assess your prospective manager: 1. Hiring managers are attracted to people like themselves: How do you judge that there is a connection between you and the hiring manager? I would agree that this is hard to judge if they keep asking you questions and are not talking much at all. They also can maintain a poker face, so knowing what they are feeling or thinking may be quite hard. Speak about what excites you and bring out your personality with your answers. This will stir interest in the hiring manager if they can relate to your...
In the Shoes of a Hiring Manager

In the Shoes of a Hiring Manager

Ever wonder what is going through the hiring manager’s mind as they interview you? Gaining insight into this will help you prepare yourself to do better in the interview. Concern about getting the right person who will come up to speed fast. “I feel tired thinking about training a new person. There is so much to do without such distraction.” In most cases, the hiring manager has to manage a transition from one person to another while ensuring that the productivity of the department does not suffer. In other cases, they might be looking for a person to address the changing environment in the department, such as a new product launch. This will be top of mind when they look for the right candidate. They are looking for the ideal candidate that will learn fast and put some runs on the board ASAP. Concern that the person is the right job and cultural fit “The last person we hired created so much collateral damage that I am scared of what I will end up with this time.” If a wrong hiring decision is made, it costs the hiring manager and the organisation a lot of time, money and energy dealing with that situation. If a hiring manager has had such an experience in the past, they will be over cautious. They may find it hard to make a decision or over compensate by getting someone who is opposite in character to whom they had before. Concern that the selection process is a waste of precious time “I rather be doing more productive work that seeing these people. Selecting the...
Career success and the young graduate

Career success and the young graduate

“As a fresh graduate, you have very little control over what you get as your first job.” This was a comment I recently received from a young man. “It is not possible to plan for the future as you do not know what your first job will be.” Many graduates share this opinion and reduce their expectations significantly when they go job hunting for the first time. I understand his sentiment. But I have a different view of how to approach this situation. While it is true that you cannot be too choosy when looking for your first job, you should at least have clarity about what success looks like to you long term. This will give you direction and focus in your job search. You will not waste your energy pursuing career options that will not interest you beyond the first paycheck. How do you make the right choices early in your career? 1. Find out what motivates you: Internal motivators like your talents, strengths and values. It might be a higher purpose or cause that resonates with you, or it might working with a group of people who make you feel comfortable. These motivators usually remain consistent over time. It might be external motivators like a title, a corner office, money, travel or perks. It could be that you want to do better than your peers or please your loved ones. These motivators will change over time as you gain more experience and widen your horizons. It could also be a combination of internal and external motivators. Spend time discovering your true self. As a young person,...