The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

September 12, 2013

In new industry, curiosity and focus are essential

QUESTION: I am staying in my same job but will be working in a new industry. I’m completely unfamiliar with it; what steps can I take to get up to speed?

ANSWER: Be curious, open to new things, and focused in pursuing the information you need.

While your actual position might be the same, you’re going through a big change, which could have resulted from a variety of factors. And your feelings about the change likely will vary depending on the cause. For example, the loss of a client will leave different feelings than an increase in responsibilities based on excellent performance. So how are you feeling? Excited? Apprehensive? Resentful? If you have any negatives - or concerns about change in general - holding you back from embracing this opportunity, take some time to acknowledge them and move forward.

How have you approached learning other new things? Use your learning style to help guide your direction. Your steps will differ depending on whether you prefer to read about new topics, go to workshops, talk with others, etc.

This industry is new to you - is it new to your company? If not, identify internal resources available to you.

There are a lot of resources at your disposal. Even if you prefer more interactive learning, do some reading. If, say, you’re moving from retail to the hotel business, learn about the industry from books, newsletters, hotel brand websites or consultant reports. Then when you meet people in the industry, you can ask informed questions.

Trade associations are excellent ways to meet people. It can be as simple as Googling to find options. If you live in a major metropolitan area, you can find local associations or even groups on MeetUp.com that focus on your new topic.

Build relationships with as many existing clients as you can. This is your chance to ask questions using the “newbie“ pass. Remember, it’s a sign of strength to know what you don’t know. Start seeking connections with people in non-client companies, and use those conversations to understand their needs.

As you learn more about the industry, look back at your knowledge of other industries. Notice the similarities, and ways your existing knowledge can help inform your understanding. There also might be insights from other industries that you can bring forward to new or existing clients.

Organize the information you obtain so that you aren’t just randomly acquiring information, and just as randomly forgetting it. Focus on basic topics, such as understanding the products/services, major players, typical sales cycle, recent innovations and most troublesome business challenges. Document the information and highlight gaps so that you can get them filled.

Manage your attitude, too. Do a variety of activities, sandwiching those that are less pleasant between tasks you like. Remember to keep your life in balance; you don’t need to become preoccupied with this learning - your brain will make connections while you’re thinking about other things.

Enjoy the learning process and have confidence that your skills will carry you through.

Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes. Submit questions or comments about this column at www.deliverchange.com/coachscorner or email her at lizdeliverchange.com.

1
Text Only
Business
  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

  • It could be time for a career coach

    Need a little help figuring out your next career move?
    If you’re putting in the hours and still not seeing the rewards, feeling undervalued or simply striving to be more successful, it may be time to hire a career coach.

    July 16, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Turn to boss for help with disgruntled underling

    QUESTION: When I joined this company a few weeks ago, I discovered that the person who previously held my position is now working for me. “Sarah” obviously resents my presence and frequently says I don’t have the authority to manage her, even though I clearly do. Her negativity has made my job much more difficult.

    July 15, 2014

  • You are not trusted

    If it seems like employers don’t trust employees - well, they don’t.

    July 15, 2014

  • The Color of Money: Beware of loan-modification scammers

    There are some good things going on in the economy these days. Just like temperatures across the country, the stock market has been hot lately. The economy added 288,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent. Yet there are still plenty of Americans who need financial help, especially with their mortgages.

    July 14, 2014

Business Video
Stocks