Busting the “new staff” myth – why it’s not necessarily the new hires who are creating waves

There is a mistaken belief that if there is disharmony in your business, it is because of new staff, changing the dynamic. Is it that simple, or is there more going on than you think?

At any time in the growth of a new business, there’s a necessary shift from the original start up team to allow in increased resource and new skills.

In all likelihood, you will have spent a good few months working intensively with a small, select group of like-minded, risk taking individuals, who have rolled their sleeves up and pitched in, to be part of those early, uncertain start up days.

Before you know it, somehow, you’ve secured funding; got a robust commercial plan together and the green light to ramp it up. To deliver on the plan, you’ll need more people, a broader range of skills and maybe a few more locations, away from the original hub.

At this stage, you may have thought the challenge was to recruit the ‘right people’ and enticing all the talent you need to join, which to some, is still a risky venture.

However, the recruitment challenge is not the end of the growth road. In fact, it’s more like a roundabout, where you will collect new joiners from all directions. All of a sudden, you find yourself being the conductor of a rather bigger group of players than you ever imagined (or even wanted!)

That’s it right-  more resource, more capability, job done?

Unfortunately, not so.

As the leadership team, with a raft of new faces, moves into business as usual mode, something’s changed. You start to notice that the once, easy conversation in management meetings, has become both more formal and possibly, less authentic. Those on the team who had always been open and honest, now seem to be less willing to speak up and are a lot more cautious with you. The new recruits are eager to make their mark, but aren’t always on the same page with decisions and the way forward.

It comes down to you to hold it together. You’re the one suddenly making all the decisions; setting the direction and even worse, you see the emergence of petty disagreements, in-fighting and corridor conversations, all under-mining the cohesiveness of the leadership team and the business.

It was never like this before, so what’s changed?

Surely, it’s got to be the addition of the ‘new recruits’. They must be the cause of the new unease, the potential disquiet. You start to fear you made the wrong recruitment decision – they just don’t fit in.

Moving to the next chapter

It’s natural to look to those around you as being the cause of this change. To some extent it’s right, the players in the movie have changed, there are new characters with their own script to play out. Don’t forget though, that the existing members of the team are still there, playing out their own story, one that may have been written some time ago.

What you see when a business matures and grows, is the formation of the next chapter of the company storybook. Some will attempt to hold on to the old habits and thoughts about ‘how it should be’ in the company. They will work very hard to keep things the way they were, as this seems to be the way they achieved success. As a leader, you may do the same, feeling a sense of loss as the old ways don’t seem to fit anymore. You might be tempted to resort to increasing control, management and monitoring, in an attempt to bring the new players into line.

For these new players, there is no experience of ‘how it was’ to colour how it feels today. They can hear the story from the existing team members, but will be shaping their new experience moment by moment, as it is created. They will be keen to add impact and value and identify ways they can improve what they see. On top of that, each will bring with them habits of thought and behaviours, which may not be immediately apparent but which will emerge over the first few months.

The way forward through new thinking

When you see what’s happening beneath the surface of disharmony and dis-ease, the pressure eases. Suddenly, instead of trying to exert control and being fearful of the waves of change, it’s possible to embrace the shifts in the system.

When you see what is creating the experience for you and each member of your team, you open the door to hearing new thinking and creating new experiences. Imagine being able to write the new chapter moment by moment, instead of having to stick to a plan created years before. By freeing yourself from the need to control and manage, you open the door to hear the wisdom, insights and new perspectives of those around. When new team members aren’t feeling under pressure to prove their worth and when existing team members understand the natural flow of change, resistance becomes unnecessary.

When all team members understand how their experience is created and see their invaluable role in the system, there will be less fear or resistance and more openness to what’s actually available.

What story are you creating in your business? One of fear and constraint or one of infinite possibility?