Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
February, 5th 2009

It's sometimes difficult to resonate with strategic visions such as building a smarter planet. Executives and thought-leaders can make a big difference, but what can an ordinary employee do to help make things happen?

Me, I've been with IBM for a little over a year, having joined it right after finishing my master's degree. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the changes happening in the business world, and I wonder what how I can help make things better. Whether you're also new at work or you've been there for a while but you still don't consider yourself an experienced decision-maker, you probably know what I'm talking about.

As I thought about how I can help build a smarter planet, I realized that new employees like me can contribute something, too.

I often find myself asking people questions about the way things work. "Why?" "Why not?" "What if…" Most of the time, I learn that there are great reasons why people do what they do. Sometimes, though, my questions get people to reexamine assumptions, and we figure out even better ways to work.

If you're a new employee, you might be worried about asking silly questions to which everyone else knows the answers. Go ahead and ask. Maybe you'll uncover some assumptions or inefficiencies, and you'll help make things better along the way. If you're working with new employees, be open to suggestions and new ways of working. Who knows? Maybe you'll pick up a tip or two.

As a new employee, there's so much for me to learn. I'm really lucky that I can share what I'm learning with my coworkers through internal blogs, bookmarks, and wikis. Not only does recording what I'm learning help me learn more effectively, it also helps me share what I'm learning with more people, and I end up documenting all sorts of knowledge.

If you're a new employee, write down what you're learning and share your notes with your coworkers. If you're managing new employees, set up ways for people to share what they know.

I'm learning a lot, and I really love what I'm doing. Some people tell me that's because I'm young and I'm new to the company, and I remember reading a book that said most new employees lose their enthusiasm after six months. I've met lots of other people who've shown by example that you can still be passionate about your work after decades, though, so I still have hope! I'm passionate about what I do, and people tell me that they find my enthusiasm infectious. I help them feel happier and more motivated about their work, and that helps them perform better.

If you're a new employee, stay in touch with the reasons you liked the job offer, and discover new reasons to be passionate about what you do. If you work with or manage new employees, help them stay engaged by connecting them with people who are passionate about their work, and help them harness their passion and infect others with their energy.

Even new employees can help build a smarter company. Even new employees can help build a smarter planet. Let's make it happen.

Sacha Chua is an Enterprise 2.0 consultant and application developer with IBM Global Business Services. She helps organizations learn more about Web 2.0 tools and concepts, incorporate those into their business strategies, design and develop solutions, and make the most of those tools through coaching and adoption support. She also helps companies understand Generation Y, which she belongs to. She has been with IBM for a little over one year. Her personal blog is at

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