Saturday, October 24, 2009

5 Ways to Get the Best of New Employees

I've been at my new position for less than a month and already I'm waking up in the middle of the night with brilliant ideas. Truth be told most of those brilliant ideas look pretty silly by the light of morning. None the less I'm fully immersed into my new job - even when I'm sleeping.

It got me thinking. How did the company engage not only my working hour mind, but my heart so quickly? It's true my background matches the job requirements well and I have the experience and knowledge to hit the ground running. But there is more --

  1. My peers, employees and executive team are nice. I want to do a good job in part because I like the people with whom I work. Every person I've reached out to, has not only taken my meeting, they've been enthusiastic about it.
  2. How I am to be measured is clearly articulated, and I have the opportunity and authority to define those measurements with my management team.
  3. I've been given express permission to make mistakes. The company directly tells you that in your first 90 days we expect mistakes. Because it's OK to take chances, I'm jumping right into projects, rather than waiting until I feel confident I "know everything".
  4. Asking questions is not only expected, it's encouraged. People stop by my office to say hello, and see if I "need anything". No agenda in mind, they just want to give me an easy opportunity to ask for help.
  5. Perhaps most effective -- there is lots of chocolate around the office. I've got to love people who need a good afternoon sugar rush!
Was everything in my orientation perfect? No, I still don't have business cards and the commute is a bear. But that hasn't slowed down my integration into the new role. Instead, the company has made a conscious effort to establish a work environment for new employees that pulls our heart and soul into the job - from Day 1. Despite the fact that I still have a lot to learn about the organization, they already get my best.

Day 17 - I'm ALL in, and grateful to be there.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My New Favorite Apple Recipe

I love fall in New England. The air is crisp, the leaves are colorful and the kids aren't tired of going to school yet. Every October I take my boys apple picking. It's our way of welcoming Autumn.

And each year I have an idyllic plan. I pick a day the sun will be shining. I pull out all of my "apple recipes" and for days the boys and I talk about which apples we want to sample.

Surrounded by near-by apple orchards this should be an easy outing to schedule. Then again, apple picking never seems to work out quite as we expect. And this year was no different.

Although the sun is shining, the wind is gusting.

The lines are long. Apparently, every citizen within 100 miles had picked this Saturday to go apple picking. We wait in line to pay our $52 entry fee. This hefty sum gives us the privilege of picking our own fruit. When we are done we pay twice per pound what our local grocery store charges.

90 minutes and $150 later this simple New England tradition has been anything but simple.

None the less, while I might never have the perfect apple picking adventure, I'd never dream of giving up the tradition. If I had, I might never have giggled with my seven year old as he bit into an unexpectedly bitter apple. Or watched my growing 16 year old reach the perfect Macintosh high up on the tree. And I might never have been inspired to try a new favorite apple recipe (see below).

So go ahead, take the hay ride, dress warmly and enjoy those juicy apples.

Fennel & Apple Salad

2 – 3 green apples – sliced thin
3 bulbs fresh fennel – sliced thin
2 lemons
Pinch of sugar
1 cup orange juice
Salt & pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Fresh shaved Romano or Parmesan cheese

Mix sliced apples and fennel in a bowl
Cover with juice from two lemons
Toss gently with pinch of salt & pepper

In a separate bowl mix orange juice, Dijon mustard and sugar.

Right before serving toss salad with Orange Juice mixture.
Top with shaved cheese & serve