I'm over at Quartz again this week, this time writing about how to start fast at a new company by zeroing in on the biggest problems. As I've written about before, not only is finding the scary, hidden problems in an organization is hard when you're new, but it can be unsettling when you find them and realize that your company maybe isn't as perfect as you thought it was.
I've always viewed this as a good thing, provided that you find out what those challenges are right away and start looking for the links between your role and how those problems can be alleviated. One thing to keep in mind also is that even successful companies have plenty of problems to solve. Go check out the visitors' log at any Fortune 100 company, and you'll find dozens if not hundreds of consultants and contractors who are there to help solve problems.
I was interviewing a candidate yesterday for a senior sales position at my company, and for a while during the conversation I was surprised by the technical depth he wanted to get into regarding our product. Afterwards, it definitely felt like I'd been the one interviewing. It took me a little while to realize that he was doing exactly what I'm talking about: seeing if we were "as advertised" and probing for the gaps. It's a savvy way to look at a new company -- no wonder he's in demand.
Check out the piece here: Impress your new employer by solving problems they didn't know they had.