“Two things remain irretrievable: time and a first impression. You never get a second chance to make that first impression again, you have one chance and the impression is reciprocal, the emotions of that impressions and how you felt can last a lifetime. Second chances are hard to come by and they are always tainted, a good first impression sets the tone of what is to come”.MZMollyTL, 2019
How often have we heard that first impressions are last impressions? This is certainly true for me, now I acknowledge I can be a grump (or so I am told), one of my greatest irritations is poor service when I visit a shop or such and my first impression is almost always my last, usually resulting in me boycotting the shop, place, venue, hotel for the rest of my natural known life in addition to advising everyone on several occasions of the bad impression and my moral outrage.
I wonder if this rule also applies to the first day in the workplace. Yes, before you ask, I have also made my mind up on the attitude I have in the workplace based on first expressions. Once, I simply said, this is not the right working environment and will cause issues for both of us, I then simply left, let me tell you my first day – I arrived early, I was prepared, I had psyched myself up to be engaging, friendly and sociable (remember I am a grump at heart) and I thought I was meeting the socially expected norms. They forgot it was my first day and nothing was prepared for me to get a sense of my job or the equipment in fact to do it. I had travelled interstate and the role was certainly not a junior one. I was told to get the coffee (which I paid for); I emptied the bins and finally they forgot about a team lunch engagement but as I was new, it was not appropriate for me to go. I read the policy manual and it was woeful.
I was about to bust my boiler. This job was different, I was headhunted from the compliance regulator after issuing a notice of intent to impose sanctions for negligence. My first impression spoke volumes about the depth and pervasiveness of the culture which had become an accepted norm. So, I audited the policies, corroborated with complaints and then found my own access to clinical documentation which further demonstrated systemic system failure. Upon return from lunch, I proudly submitted a 15 page document of triangulated and corroborated evidence of gross systemic failure. I thanked them for their time and left whilst saying call me before five or the report is provided to the regulator. Or, we can start again tomorrow.
The CEO was horrified, the Executive team didn’t know what hit them and I had a call in 30 minutes asking to come back. I did. My conditions were that we were going to transform this to a hub of excellence and that we did.
First Impressions Matter. Culture Matters, People Matter.
I learnt much form this, I learnt that people in a toxic environment can become so down trodden that the wood is no longer seen for the trees. As a new person, there was no value in me, my skills or in fact me as a person. If this is how relationships in the team were, then we needed to make swift changes to be the change we wished to see. We did. It was the most intensive support program put in place to change the mindset of leaders first and foremost. Everything DiSC was our life savior as we knew communication was an issue, but we then had the tools to begin the work with self to communicate to each other in a way which is in accordance with our communication preferences and personality. Then the 5 Behaviours of a Team showed us we were not in a place of trust, but we got there, and this was the beginning of the culture change. It was not just about the leaders, we invested in the team as if it was good for one, it was good for all. Care improved. People started applying for roles in droves, non-compliance was a thing of the past. This took two years. Our foundation was all about the first impression and the ongoing impressions we sought to build our teams with. Soon enough we were international award winners, had outstand regulatory compliance ratings, happy people in homes and happy people in the team.
This is why we have taken the same strategy at Meaningful Care Matters, the tools form Everything DiSC and the 5 Behaviours of a cohesive team lay the foundation for first impressions and to build a transformational model of care upon. This has been in proven in several of our projects already and the feedback has been this was the missing link.
First Impressions Matter. When our teams are undertaking induction or when people we care for are meeting a team member for the first time, it is the impression that matters, and it is one of many keys in creating meaningful cultures.
What is the impression if you were to come into the lace you work like it was your first day? An interesting thought.