The MPW Insiders Network is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: What is the biggest mistake you see new hires make? is written by Kim Getty, president of Deutsch LA.
As recent graduates flood the job market, companies are jumping to hire the best and brightest talent to reinvigorate their businesses. Young talent is high energy, digitally savvy, technically brilliant – the list of lauded potential goes on, and is well deserved. But jumping into a new career, a new industry, or a new job is exceptionally challenging, and new hires need to carefully consider how they will set themselves up for success.
For example, a young woman named Lena Khouri joined our company about a year ago. From the day she started, she has been herself – confident, eager to learn and always bringing new ideas to the table. After only four months at the agency, Lena approached me with a well-thought out plan, which included a proposal outlining how to make philanthropy a core aspect of our agency in a way that engaged our entire company. I was impressed.
For Lena, using creativity to make positive change in our local community was one of her core passions. With the agency’s support, she spearheaded Deutsch Good, which has changed the course of our agency. From donating clothes and toys to children in need, to creating an art mural for a local homeless youth center, Safe Place for Youth (SPY), we help people put their talents to work for causes for which they have passion.
With every new company, no matter what industry, there are things new hires can learn to make the most of their experience. Here are a few tips that will help you create your own path at your company:
Be your best YOU.
Don’t try to emulate someone else’s style or reflect their point of view. Your skills, personality and previous experiences are the reasons you were hired. In your new role, be yourself, bring your own ideas to the table and don’t’ be afraid to showcase your unique individual strengths. Diversity of opinion is what drives the best thinking. At Deutsch, we embrace healthy tension, knowing that we’re all working from a place of positive intent. If you have a divergent point of view, it very well could be the most valuable idea in the room. Make your voice heard.
But first, listen.
For many people, listening is really just waiting to talk. But real, genuine listening is learning, and it can be the key to making real connections with people. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And speak up when you have an idea, as long as you believe it genuinely adds to the discussion. As Ghandi once said, “Speak only if it improves upon the silence.”
Leverage your past experience to bring new ideas forward.
If something worked well at your previous organization, share it with your colleagues to spark new ideas. Innovation is at the core of every successful organization. Leveraging your personal and professional history – a collection of experiences that are unique to you – can bring new insight and drive positive change in a new environment. Use what you know.
Ideally, any new role will offer an abundance of training, both from formal programs as well as coaching from your manager. That does not excuse you from seeking out your own learning opportunities as well. Technology has democratized education in an extraordinary way. Pick a topic and investigate it. There is a wealth of material available for free online. Also, identify conferences on topics that interest you, and ask to attend them. Many companies have budgets to accommodate this type of independent learning, you just have to take the initiative and ask.
Own up to your mistakes.
Early on in your career, you’ll want to get everything right. But, if you really are doing things right, mistakes are going to happen. That adage: FAIL = First Attempt In Learning is legit. What’s important is that you own your mistakes and take accountability for them, as well as the lessons that come with them. That is the true definition of growth.