In this series, we are exploring “how to be good” went joining a new environment (industry, organization, team, etc). It boils down to a key requirement.

Whenever you join a new industry, company, team, etc … You must do the following …

You must actively demonstrate your strengths [a] as soon as possible.

By doing this, you will both establish & create a “name” / niche for yourself.

This applies to everyone. If there is an exception to this, I would say that depending on one’s skill level and relative competitiveness of the environment [b] they are joining, it may be the case that one will demonstrate this requirement organically without explicit focus. Nevertheless, everyone who establishes themselves and becomes successful in a given environment does this regardless of if they are actively thinking about it.

If you fail to fulfill this requirement, it will be unpleasant for you and those around you. Here is why.

When you’re doing something new (i.e. joining a new industry, company, team, etc.) you’re likely going to need time to get good at it. While you are ramping up and getting good in the new environment, you still need to contribute. How does one manage this balance?

The key is …

People will excuse your weaknesses and shortcomings if they can clearly see the value that you bring.

You can ask a million questions when you’ve established yourself in the new environment. Your peers will be motivated and pleased by your enthusiasm because they know that thier investment will pay off in the future by your contributions. But when you haven’t established yourself, your million questions will not be appreciated. It will feel like a burden to your peers. It will be like an investment they have to make where they know there will not be any returns. No one wins in this situation. Often times, people aren’t well equipped to handle these situations [c].

When you fail to establish yourself people will write a narrative for you … more often than not, this narrative will be a negative one.

Don’t allow people to write your narrative.

When you were accepted into the new environment, you demonstrated qualities and skills that were deemed suitable to contribute to the environment’s bottom line. Make sure that you remind everyone of these qualities by explicitly showing your value and strengths as soon as you can.


[a] A strength is something that you do particularly well. You could say that your strengths often lie within your genius zone.

[b] Competition in this context is not referring necessarily to direct competition with your colleagues; but rather, the overall skill level of those in the environment. The higher the skill level of the average subject, the more “competitive” the environment is.

[c] This applies to both sides (both new and established team members.) Handling perceivied low performance is socially hard. The point of this post is to propose a mindset for onboarding teammembers to positively influence other’s perception of them; thus, “establishing” them in the new environment.

[*] Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels