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Permission to Be a Person


Written by: Kinney Group | Last Updated:

July 8, 2022

Originally Published:

May 25, 2020

It’s your first day with a new employer, in a new position. I give you permission to get lost and be late. I give you permission to ask numerous questions. I give you permission to forget my name, where the bathroom is, and the name of your new role. I give you permission to be nervous and eager, to want to do everything in one day but have no idea what is going on around you. I give you permission to be excited and driven. I give you permission to finish all your Lessonly courses as quickly as possible on Day 1 (because I have more scheduled to roll out tomorrow and many days over your first 90 with us). I give you permission to leave a little early, overwhelmed with the many new names and faces you feel obligated to memorize before the weekends. I give you permission to come back tomorrow before your first orientation meeting, at whatever time works for your schedule. I give you permission to get coffee as often as you need it because coffee is my love language, but it’s also fuel to keep your fire going. I give you permission to be you and to show up every day as you and to take care of yourself, to fulfill your role as you see fit and to be a person.

Trust is Essential

As the Learning & Development Manager at Kinney Group, giving my new colleague permission to be a person is trusting them to make good decisions for themselves and the organization. Trust-giving is an important part of the Kinney Group culture and we lead with it right out the gate. Any Patrick Lencioni fan recognizes that trust is the foundational building block for developing and managing functional teams. The fast-paced, agile nature of working at a tech organization requires synchronized and operative departments in order to achieve business objectives.  Additionally, trust-giving teams generate a great culture.

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I’m fortunate to set that tone for the organization, and I do that consciously in three distinct ways:

Re-direct Apologies.

In every new hire week I’ve managed, I’ve received some email, text message, phone call, or face-to-face explanation of an apology because the new colleague was late, pulled into another meeting, forgot to bring something to work, can’t remember their password… there’s always an apology. I re-direct these, letting my new hire know they’re okay and I have no expectations for them, other than to keep showing up and learning. Please don’t apologize to me, I trust that you’re a professional who can self-manage and make decisions. I am owed no apology.

Give & Encourage Autonomy.

My orientation schedules are full of blended-learning experiences, meetings, team activities, lunches & coffee dates. But I don’t plan for 40 hours of activity and work and I don’t dictate a start or end time to their days. I trust my new colleagues — just as I do my tenured colleagues — to work as they see fit, communicate, and focus on hitting their goals.

Be a Human.

I help my new colleagues unlearn and relearn how to be a person at work by paving the way. I give myself permission to be a person and lead with my vulnerability. By setting this example, I believe it helps new colleagues trust me and our organization as a people-focused business. And we are.

“A Company is Not a Thing, It’s All of Us”

Jim Kinney, our CEO, reminds us that a company is not a thing, it’s all of us who show up every day inspired and driven to carry out the company’s mission. We trust our colleagues to show up every day and give them permission to show up as the persons we hired, the talent we desired, and a crucial element to our business journey. On your first day, 90th day, 180th day and for every day you’re here. It’s to infinity and beyond, we’re chasing the stars. And we believe the best way to do that is to give you permission to be a person at work.

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