As part of getting established, you’re getting 1:1’s with folks at your new client. What’s your agenda?
I suggest holding this lightly and abandoning it at will. But it’s handy to have a formula to fall back on:
What do you have in common, or that you can otherwise connect over? It’s all fair game; the topic matters much less than the vibe. What’s it feel like to interact with this person? Do they tend to lead, follow, spin out, shut down? What’s their posture look like? (Do you want to mirror it, or encourage a shift on their end?) Oftentimes you can feel in the first 20-30 seconds whether this is someone you can go deep with or if your interactions are more likely to be more superficial. All you can do is meet someone where they’re at–but to do that, first you need to see them where they are.
Folks love telling stories about themselves. What’s a good story of a time they’ve had at this organization?
The One Thing
“If you could see one thing here change over the next couple of (weeks|months), what would it be?” If this is fertile ground, you can keep going: “If that change happened, what would be different? How would you know? What would it feel like?”
Desires, dreams, expectations
Especially with individual contributors, expressing interest in what they want with their career–regardless of whether that’s in alignment with their job description–can give you a lot of insight into how they operate, and much better ability to help and support their growth than if you were just doing typical support work for their stated position.
When you’re first building relationships at a new client, do you have other major points of interest and prompts that you prefer? Hit Reply and let me know–I read all responses!
Operator’s note: I’ll be traveling Aug 13-28; posts here will be sporadic during that time.