Just Listen.

A friend is starting a brand new job on Monday, after more than a decade in his previous role. We were chatting the other day, and I was asking him: What’s it going to be like starting a new job like this? How are you going to approach it?

His reply was incredibly smart:

I’ve got a lot of big ideas for the job, he told me. But my job isn’t to tear everything down and start fresh. I want to figure out how to take what they’re already doing and make it better. So the first couple of weeks, my job is simple: I need to ask a lot of questions, listen to the team around me, and then try to figure out how to get others to buy into the vision that I have for the job.

I love everything about that reply:

1.) He’s putting listening first.

2.) He’s trying to build a team with a shared vision.

3.) He’s thinking about incremental changes as a way to build respect and drive the organization in the right direction.

Big changes don’t happen overnight — direction is more important than speed. But if you listen, if you get others to buy in, and if you work to make positive changes — even small ones — you can make a difference in the long run.

That illustration is by Katerina Limpitsouni for unDraw.