Becoming Our Best


Martha and I spent a week at the Triangle X guest ranch in Wyoming recently. No frills, just beautiful trails, simple living and incredible scenery, plus riding a horse for 4 or 5 hours a day. My horse, Pumpkin, was selected by the wranglers as appropriate for someone of my riding skills (I rode a bit in cattle roundups as a twenty-something, not much since).

The first day or two with Pumpkin was a challenge. She seemed to have a mind of her own, wanting to trot when she felt like it, brush my knee against trees, stop on a whim and generally do whatever she felt like at various times. We finally came to a meeting of the minds on the third day, and Pumpkin began doing what I wanted consistently. Is there something to be learned from this experience with Pumpkin that is helpful in working with a new, spirited employee? I think so.

• The first hours and days together are critical. Use them well.

• You and your authority will be challenged. Respond gently and firmly.

• As the new team member adjusts, be encouraging.

• Let go of the small irritations. Focus on the important issues.

• Involve other team members in the "breaking in" process.

Getting a new employee off on the right foot is a most important undertaking. It is the foundation for everything that happens after. Take the time and effort to involve your team and do it well.

Author: Bruce Johnsen Management Consultant:
824 Munras Ave Suite G
Monterey, CA 93940

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