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  • Writer's pictureacoachsdiary

Welcome to the Team!!

Updated: Jan 16

Guiding Question: How can we create conditions for greatness and excellence from Day 1?

I started a new job in a big-time organization yesterday, and the highlight of my day was when we got a tour of the facility by the organization's ambassador. He has been with the team for over 30 years, so he knew as much about the organization as anybody.

The first thing he said when he walked in was, "Welcome, and congratulations. A lot of people wanted your job, and we could have hired at least 10 other qualified people, but we chose you. We want you, and we need you. You are going to do great things for us. You are exactly where you need to be at exactly the right time. You are here to make us better, and we believe you will make us better."

He then said, "We need you and all your skills to help us do two things: win rings and make money. When we win rings, people come to games and spend money."

His speech and positive affirmations made me feel like I was at home, and it connected me to a greater purpose as an important part of the Suns organization.

That is how you welcome a new team member.

Daniel Coyle has studied some of the best cultures in the world. On the Learning Leader Podcast, he said high-performing super cultures make the first day for new team members really big deals, and the best of the best script out that first day.

On the first day of Pixar, Coyle said all new employees come in, they sit on the 5th row of the theater because that is where directors sit when they watch a show, and the president of Pixar comes out and says, "Whatever you did before, you are a movie maker now. We need you to help us make our movies better."

This is an expression of vulnerability on the group's part. They are telling new team members we need you and you are important to what we do.

Smart cultures take maximum advantage of new team members first day, and they make it as meaningful as humanly possible.

The first day is such an important and transformational time in a person's life. Not only did I start my first day of a new job yesterday, but my kids had their first day in a new school, in a new city, yesterday as well, and their school had a plan for them. I have two kids in elementary school, and the night before school, both teachers emailed my wife and me to welcome our kids and let us know the plan they have to make them feel safe and like they belong. They then met our kids in the front office when they arrived! Both kids said they had a GREAT FIRST DAY!

Coyle says we all have alarm systems in our brains that are tuned to tiny social clues, and if you are receiving clues that you don't belong or things aren't safe for you, you shut down and start looking elsewhere.

He also says one bad apple can instantly lower the group's performance by 30% - 40%, so great cultures over-communicate safety and belonging, so it is important for team leaders, coaches, and teachers to intentionally welcome new team members and students so everything continues to run smoothly.

Coyle then says building safety is the single most important foundational thing that happens in a group, and great cultures know how to do this by building and strengthening relationships by over-communicating and listening.


1 - How do you make new team members and classmates feel comfortable, safe, and like they belong?

2 - When was a time you did not feel welcome in a new team, classroom, or organization? What made you not feel welcome?

3 - When was a time when you did feel welcome on a new team, classroom, or organization? What did they do to make you feel that way?

4 - What can you say to leave a good first impression on a new team member? What are one or two sentences that you can remember and recite that let people know that they are exactly where they should be at exactly the right time?

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