Thursday, 25 October 2007

The first hundred days

I am reading the book "You're in Charge - Now What?" now in preparation for my new job. This book is a gift from my boss which I consider to be valuable.

Although the author has used the CEO job as examples, there are many things that we all can learn. For one thing, we need to realize that the first hundred days in our new job are the most important. It was the time when we are in the temporary state of incompetence, faced with being the person who know least about the company. But it is also the most important period for one to lay the groundwork for a long-term momentum and great performance.

I think this should be the first thing we hear when we start a new job. "Congratulations, you got the job, now you have to earn it."

Below is a memo sent by the managing partner of McKinsey Company to the new recruits when they started. He sent a very strong message that day. Coincidentally, I was born in that same month. :)

To: New Associates
From: Ron Daniel
Date: April 1979

On Becoming An Associate


It has been traditional for the firm's managing director to write to all new associates. It is difficult to personalize such a communication, but through this memorandum I would like to add
my welcome to you as you join the firm. My purpose is to convey a few ideas that I think are important. These ideas are largely personal, no matters of firm policy, and are offered for whatever value they may have for you.

The first concept has to do with a basic attitude that I believe can significantly affect the satisfaction and fulfillment you will derive from your work. I urge you to think of yourself from this day on as a member of our firm, not as an employee of it. This is your firm, and you should
assume a proprietary state of mind toward it. In many ways, the kind of firm McKinsey & Company is five years from now will be the result of your interests, your convictions, and your energies.

Secondly, recognize the necessity of getting off to a good start in the firm. Your first few engagements are critical. During these studies, you can establish an internal clientele for yourself - that is, by performing in an outstanding way, your reputation will be quickly established in your office and even the firm. If you are successful, you will be sought out by your colleagues when new engagement opportunities come along. New responsibilities will flow to you. You can overcome a poor start, of course, but it takes considerable time and effort - and obviously it is better not to have to rebuild professional standing, but, rather, to continuously add to it.


Our firm has a
long history that, among other things, has left us with a well-established value system. The professional approach, the one-firm concept, and a commitment to quality are all essential values of the firm that I hope you will soon understand and support. There are written materials about these topics in your office. I hope you will read them and discuss them with your office manager, your teammates, or any member of the management group. Another part of our value system is the expectation - indeed, the responsibility - for even the newest associate to speak up , to come forward, to contribute from the very beginning, to understand his or her role in an engagement team, to be clear on and supportive of our arrangements and commitments to a particular client, to bring to bear facts and evidence that challenge the thinking of the engagement director and engagement manager, and to be convinced that we have placed our clients' interest first. While this kind of behaviour implies a strength of character and the courage of one's convictions, and while the firm expects this from even our newest associates, we don't expect you to be all-knowing and able to prove your superiority in every situation.

Men and women who join this firm are invariably achievement motivated and ambitious people. Most have egos of generous size. But another key aspect of the firm's value system is the concept of collaboration. Reach out for help. Establish the habit of teamwork early. When you don't know, ask. When you're uncertain, ask. It's ironic that it is our strongest performers, out most effective consultants, who most often reach out for help from their colleagues. In the process, the strong get even stronger.


Finally, I urge you to regularly establish some perspective on your firm, on your work, and on yourself. Step back once in a while and take stock of things - not every day , not every week, but perhaps every six months. Are you still learning and being challenged? Are you getting personal satisfaction from a life that essentially involves serving others? Are you growing personally? Is the word
professional coming to have any special, personal meanings for you? Have you experienced the benefits of our one-firm concept? Have you enjoyed the stimulation, the congeniality, the support of your colleagues? Can you - like the Nobel biologist Albert Szent-Györgyi - run to work most of the time out of enthusiasm for what you are doing? Have you exercised the control that only you can exercise to maintain a reasonable balance between your professional work and your personal life? For over the twenty years I've been able to answer yes to most of these questions, most of the time. During this time, I've believed it to be a genuine privilege to be part of this group of high-talent people of diverse talents, varied backgrounds, and wide-ranging interests who comprise our firm.

I wish you good luck as you begin, and hope that you come to feel the same measure of excitement , stimulation, support , warmth, and fun that I've enjoyed.


I hope this memo make an influential point for everyone who are going to start a new job or even a new role in the same company (as you get promoted). It has for me.

I have the whole book to finish before I am going to start my new job on 1 Nov. Busy busy. And tomorrow is my last day in my company of 6 years tenure. It is time to leave a bunch of wonderful and talented people. I am so gonna miss them. And also farewell to my messy desk at the corner!

1 comment:

autumnmusic said...

we are going to miss you so so much too!!! *sob*

but here's to a great start in your new company!!! *cheers* ^.^

in a way, it's a new beginning for myself as well, with u and cindy leaving the company at the same time, my two closest contact in the company. we all gambate together lor :P