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Fresh eyes: The most important thing a new hire brings

When welcoming a new coworker, keep this in mind.

On the first day of one of the first jobs I ever had coming out of college, a mentor of mine pulled me aside, and said to me…

“Claire, take a look around the company. Take in everything you see and hear, what you think could be better, and write it all down. Don’t forget that stuff. Since you’re new here, you’re going to see things that we’re not going to see. You’re going to turn over rocks and go, “What’s that? That’s stupid.” You’ll question stuff that we’ve just been assuming. You’ve got fresh eyes — and we need that.”

Years later, that concept still sticks with me. As a business owner, I’ve experienced firsthand the importance of seeing things with “fresh eyes.” Especially, as I’ve begun to hire new folks. I’ll explain my business process to them, and catch myself justifying “the way we do things” because it’s “the way we do things” — not because it’s the right way. What good is that?

The longer we do something, the more “used to” it we become. And the more “used to” it we become, the more details and nuances we stop seeing. Changing circumstances, changing market, changing competition, changing problems…we develop blind spots when we get too “used to” running our own business.

So we need fresh eyes. We need to seek out new perspectives on our business, particularly from the newest employees in the company.

This is a tricky thing to do because new employees are often the ones who are least likely to speak up. The longer you are at a company, the more comfortable you feel in providing a dissenting opinion. But if you’ve just joined the company last week, you don’t want to rock the boat.

To get this information from new folks, you’ve got to actively seek it out. Ask yourself…Who are the people in your company who have fresh eyes? What can you learn from them? What questions are you asking them?

As a CEO, owner, or manager, if you want fresh eyes, you’ve got to ask for it. Sit someone down. Tell them that they can bring something to the team that no one else can.

Tell them you need their fresh eyes.

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Written by Claire Lew

CEO of Canopy. My mission in life is to help people become happier at work. Say hi to me on Twitter at @clairejlew.