If you’ve ever taken a vacation to a foreign country, you probably headed down to the bookstore to find a travel guide so you would know where to stay, where to eat, and what to visit. You may have also picked up a pocket dictionary and learned a few phrases of the language and something about the culture.
Joining a new company can be like moving to a foreign country. Stepping through those doors will lead you into a new set of customs, dress, language, ideas, and rules. To do well in your new job, you’ll have to adapt and learn about all of these customs.
Most of the time, there isn’t a guidebook or dictionary to help you decipher everything. In fact, it can feel like you’re just being thrown to the wolves.
Nonetheless, keep these four principles in mind as you learn to navigate a new organization:
- You will be expected to work and interact effectively in the organization.
- You will be accepted and you will fit into the organization — or not!
- You will be assessed for recognition, compensation, rewards, and promotion, depending on how well you perform in the new — and perhaps very different — culture.
- If you choose to ignore organizational culture, you do so at your own peril.
Yes, there will be the new customs, dress, language, ideas, and rules, but simply defined, organizational culture is the set of written and unwritten rules by which people function to get their work done. Conforming to these rules — at least to some degree — is better for you, and better for the company.