On your first day starting at Solutions 21, you get a magnetic name tag with our logo that you can use at events. Or, at least that’s what Isabel, the newest member of our team, thinks is part of joining our organization.
Isabel started the same day we had an internal meeting with a few folks from our remote offices. Rob, in town for the discussion, surprised all of us with name tags he had made for everyone in the company, including Isabel. It was a novel treat and a first for my colleague, Michelle, who has been with the company for 26 years. For Isabel, however, the name tag was just “what happens here.”
For a new employee, today is how it has always been.
This anecdote hit me during a conversation with a client that is led by an executive team with differing tenures. About half of the group has been with the company for ten-plus years while the rest have been there for as few as six months. While the team works well together, there can be conflict around how to address challenges.
For the leaders who have been around a while, they feel the need to defend past decisions and to highlight just how much better things are today than they were at the name-your-number years ago. A couple of these individuals even admit to feeling resentment against their newer peers, usually around the gauntlets that the recent hires don’t have to survive.
Meanwhile, the new folks see lingering issues and express frustration that there are so many sacred cows. They feel stymied when suggesting new solutions because of the cultural need to discuss the context and history of every challenge. They feel like some of their peers want to talk about the uphill-both-ways past instead of the let’s-make-it-happen future.
Take a few moments to consider where you are now in comparison to even a few years ago. Then, ask yourself a few questions:
- What is our story of “what happens here?”
- Are we clinging to legacy decisions out of a need to defend our progress?
- How do we better integrate the new perspectives of the latest members of our team?
Change can be disorienting, doubly so when someone else doesn’t see either progress or the work. Reconsider your gut reaction and take advantage of the fresh ideas of the folks who are completely uninhibited by the past.
Need help? Reach out to someone on our team. You’ll know us by our name tags.