Each lunch break is an opportunity to connect with your company

Business woman eating lunch and working on laptop

© Tweeter Linder 2017 – All rights reserved. Photo by iStock.

Most on-boarding programs last 45 days or less. During this process the focused on-boarding activities is often less than 2 days. Then it is time for you to start using your lunch breaks to connect and to get to know your company. A great experience for lifers and recently employed professionals.

Use lunches as bridges instead of breaks

Your best bet is to exploit lunches and coffee breaks. Few people will reject a 30-minute lunch or 15-minute coffee moment. These windows are great for understanding the culture of a company. Just asking people who they are, what they do and how they think tell you a lot.

Make it your habit to schedule a lunch or coffee meeting daily until you have a feeling for your new company. And focus on listening.

Connect with peers and managers

One-on-one meetings are best. Start to connect with peers in your team or extended project group. Expand from peers to managers for your and adjacent teams. And within the first 90 days aspire to meet your manager’s manager.

Your success is dependent on connecting well with new people and to get a multi-facetted view of the company culture.

Turn first contacts into a recurring habit

Don’t limit your lunch and coffee aspirations to your on-boarding period. Once you have built a network it need grease to work smooth. Your network will give you broader perspectives as you meet for a second, third or fourth time.

Aspire to leverage the initial contacts to probe for possible mentors. Perhaps not your first ask. But the ones you respect the most might be a future mentor.

Identify bosses you would like to work for

As you know your company you can use the model to identify the managers you would like to work for. The ones you admire. The ones who have a leadership style resonating with you.

Connections created early in your career are valuable further down as your career progress. Leaders move upwards by the great work by their team. Successful leaders bring great team members with them.

Question to ask yourself

  1. What characterize the company culture – all companies have one.
  2. Who are the most influential team members – beyond the managers.
  3. What do our company culture reward – in reality rather than on paper.
  4. Which of your assets will get in a play first – look both for ways to blend in and to stand-out.

Additional reading suggestions

Inspired by a conversation with RS about a great advice from one of his professors at school.

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