As a consultant and coach to accounting and law firms on business development and organizational effectiveness and as a multigenerational workplace expert, Phyllis Weiss Haserot found herself creating checklists with tips to meet a variety of situations her clients faced. Use these guidelines and tips to embark on a focused marketing effort, to enhance your client communications, to help build your reputation, to make new contacts, to improve selling skills, to use service quality as a business development tool, and for your career and professional development. The power is in referring to them frequently in your planning and follow up.
Whether at junior level or making a lateral move from another firm or business unit or practice group, people often make early-impression mistakes or fail to size up the new environment and set of colleagues. Here are some tips to implement early on that will build a solid foundation for long-term success.
- Reach out to new colleagues. Don't expect them to instantly try to get to know you and include you. That might be the polite and right thing on their part, but people are busy and some need a self-interested reason. This comes up frequently in my work with firms that bring in new partners laterally. The new recruits wait around in their offices for others to approach them—and get disgruntled. To make the new relationship a success, the new person needs to take the first step to reach out, meet and ask questions of the longer-timers.
- Learn to adjust your personal behavioral and communication style to others' needs and build rapport. We often use assessment tools to help people better understand their own style and identify other people's styles and expectations. People are more open to flexing their styles when the recommendations are based on data rather than subjective opinion.
- Learn to navigate organizational politics. Spend time observing and learning the power structure and unwritten rules. The most brilliant employees can fail to succeed if they ignore or don't understand the unwritten rules and organizational culture.
- If you report to someone of a different generation (older or younger), show respect and be open to ideas and worldviews different from your own. Generally, since there are greater differences among the generations than ever before—thanks to formative influences—tensions over ideas, impatience, expectations, ambitions, and communication styles and media frequently surface and cause frustrations or worse. With respect and openness, you can help avoid or resolve these tensions.
- Show interest, enthusiasm, and initiative. Especially in these times with organizations being understaffed and people being asked to do more, you need to show you want to be there and indicate your willingness to contribute significantly. Showing initiative makes a great first impression.
About the author:
Phyllis Weiss Haserot helps firms attract and retain clients of different generations and improve the working relations of their multigenerational teams, including knowledge transfer. She is president of Practice Development Counsel and a recognized expert on workplace intergenerational challenges, author, speaker and facilitator. She is the author of The Rainmaking Machine and The Marketer's Handbook of Tips & Checklists—the source of these checklists (both books from Thomson Reuters/West). Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.pdcounsel.com. View her YouTube videos at her Generational GPS channel. © Phyllis Weiss Haserot, 2014. All rights reserved.