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day1Keith, your first day is here. That time off sure flew by, didn’t it?

The precarious first day at a new job and the week that follows will be, perhaps, the most trying time in your career. It’s critical you make the right impression.  I have some first day on the job advice…not that you ask, but remember people are going to be watching closely.  Not just stockholders and the board, either.  Co-workers, secretaries and all the other people you come into contact with likely are thinking: “When’s he going to mess up? Will he make it?”

Not to add pressure, but it’s estimated 40% of new hires fail within the first year on the job. You certainly don’t want to fail in the first 8 hours. So, Keith it’s time to wow us on day 1.  Here are 10 steps for your success:

  1. By now you’ve already received the HR call to inform you that everything is in order and the employment contract is in the system.  Hopefully you ask what employees typically wear (black HD logo t-shirts) on casual Friday.  An added touch would have been to call the board personally and tell them how excited you are to start, perhaps an email too.  
  2. Next make sure and determine what your limo drive time is to arrive early.  Nothing impresses the staff more than a boss who arrives before everyone else.  Eat breakfast — fresh breath clean teeth (no poppy seed bagels) are a must.  Take a deep breath and walk in with that — I’m pinching myself because I can’t believe I got this job — smile on your face.
  3. After you arrive job #1: determine where the coffee machine is located.  Job #2: make sure the admin has your PC and email up and running.  You’ll want to gather relevant info on the printer to print your paystub info, then you’ll want to send email and  thank everyone who helped you get the job.  Let them know how ecstatically happy you are they decided to displace other longer-term employees to hire an outsider.
  4. As for lunch?  Don’t go knocking on ‘peeps’ doors at 10:30am asking what time you should take lunch.  It will look like food, not work, is on your mind.
  5. Being it’s a Friday you’ll need to resist the temptation to watch the clock.  Managers hate to see new hires watch the clock on their first afternoon on the job.
  6. Set up meetings with co-workers and get to know them and start building relationships.  Take the initiative to learn the business and read some of the motorcycle shop manuals, engine blueprints and annual reports.  You might even ask to shadow a co-worker in the plant to see how a motorcycle engine gets made.  Avoid the “Willie” design center.  Those artsy marketing types will only distort your “real world” perspective.
  7. It’s always tough to navigate the first assignment.  You’re likely sitting around reading blogs and twiddling your thumbs the first few hours waiting for someone to give you something to do.  The solution is simple.  Ask how you can help.  Don’t be to forward and try not to over step on to other co-workers projects, state you don’t know everything, but are willing to get involved even if it means working on the smallest of issues.
  8.  You’ll have a million questions on your first day.  Carry a pencil and a notepad and write down questions, people’s names and sketch a map of where the rest rooms are located.  It never hurts to over communicate, even if that means talking about how you will communicate while you are communicating.  Killing team performance by over communication is just a fallacy.  Smother them with meetings where you talk about communication styles.
  9. If in doubt utter these words: “That’s not how we did it at my old company” whenever someone asks you for an opinion or advice.  Sure some of the employees might think if it was so great why did you leave, but those individuals are narrow minded.  Remember that notepad?  Add those employees to your “watch” list.  If someone from the board ask you “how’s it going”…. The only acceptable answer is “Wonderful!”
  10. Don’t look for a mentor who will challenge your thinking.  Instead surround yourself with wet blankets and cheerleaders who think everything you say is totally awesome.  Who needs objectivity or critical people around on the first few days when you are on a job honeymoon.  There will be plenty of nay-sayer hanger-on’s later.

I know.  You’re wondering how to thank me?  Let me know which rally you plan to attend and I’ll be there my friend.

Photo courtesy of Oppenheimer.

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Have you noticed the increase in women riding their own motorcycles?  I noticed many during my riding adventures this year. Every year more and more women are sitt’n in the saddle and riding solo on the open road.  Female riders have increased from 4% in 1990 to 12% today.  This aligns perfectly with Harley-Davidsons marketing plans and key product messages as the female demographic represents a significant expansion for the company.

To help “drive” the gal’s to or into their products, Harley introduced a special website and included a laser targeted publication.  Called “We Ride“, there is a lot of information on choosing models, basic handling techniques and how best to customize your ride.  Don’t be confuse.  It provides Harley-centric information about getting into motorcycling.  It’s called “soft” marketing to push product messaging at a key audience and ultimately sell more motorcycles.

I have no idea if similar to the best selling novel by Ann Brashares whether women wearing chaps gain insight into their life or are emboldened to change it.  I’m the first to admit I need help from the “sisters” on that front.

You can download sections or the entire (23Mb) PDF from the jump site here.

Photo courtsey of HD website.

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