Making friends before shaking the tree

I recently asked a very successful executive whose thoughts I respect how one should approach new work environments. Although my question was in the context of new work environments, I believe that his answer is valid for all new environments.

Here’s the succinct answer:

“Make friends and get to know the organization before shaking the tree”

In other words, try to have an impact. But before you do so, recognize that having an impact comes through mobilizing people. And people don’t mobilize for someone they don’t know and respect. So getting to know people and building meaningful relationships is the first step to having an impact.

Originally published at Thoughts of a VC.