My alarm went of at 4:30 AM.

I walked into the kitchen, disabled it, returned to my bed and prayed.

I wrote in my journal. I went to the gym. I worked out, came home, then checked my email. Woohoo! I was invited to join a new Gmail organization…

I officially started working for Toggl at 6:00 AM.

Hell yeah!

Lessons Learned from my First Day

Toggl hired me to solve problems. That’s good, because that’s what I love to do. But it’s going to be difficult. Toggl faces a set of problems I haven’t come across before. It will test my cognitive ability, discipline, and persistence to overcome them.

But for now, I am a brain sponge. I am hoovering up as much knowledge and historical context as I can.

Toggl makes that easy, because the whole company history and future plans are documented. They do that exceptionally well, better than any organization I’ve seen. They also have cultivated a very communicative culture on Slack. Dozens of people welcomed me today, and several helped immediately answer questions when asked.

Spend your first week learning as much as you can about the world you’re stepping into. That way, you can make decisions based on empirical data and not gut assumptions.

One of my top priorities is to select and implement a CRM for the sales team. But CRM selection doesn’t just affect sales – it affects marketing too. I need to understand their needs, what software tools they’ll need to integrate, what volume of data they regularly need to handle, and what their current processes are to make an accurate (or honest) recommendation.

If I chose a CRM that met 100% of the sales team’s needs, but only 80% of the company’s needs, I’d be hurting the company. Everyone’s input must be considered.

So I spoke to our head of marketing, who I have a great gut feeling about based on her history in sales and her desire to maintain strong communication between sales and marketing. That’s a rare back story, and I deeply appreciate that she wants to work together to achieve the same goals: growing the company and making people win!

Do not make negative judgement towards anyone for any reason your first week.

You don’t want to create the impression that you’re a judgmental jerk to your new coworkers.

In your first week, you’re leaving important first impressions. You can’t re-do those.

If someone says something you think you disagree with, ask for clarification:
“Can you explain what you mean?” or  “Sorry, I don’t quite understand”.

I found that my understanding was off; that’s my fault not theirs. But unlike my former self, I just asked for clarification, and the conversation went great.

If someone confirms a negative suspicion, say “I can see why that might be the case..”, then provide a positive or encouraging thought such as “but I’m here to help, and we can definitely turn the ship around together”.

It’s important to show up as a solution-oriented person who is eager to help, and eager to learn. People are automatically receptive to people like that. So be that person. It’ll only serve you well in the long run.

In a 100% remote company, be self-directed, always.

I work in Virginia as of today. My coworkers live in Estonia, the Phillipines, Denmark, California – you name it. Nobody is here to hand-hold or coddle me. It’s up to me to figure out how to provide value to the company on my own.

The best place to start is by talking to people, and learning what the problems are. Ask for responsibilities. Ask if it’s okay to put meetings on their calendar, and openly share the purpose of the meeting is simply to learn from them. Come prepared with intelligent questions and research.

Huh, that sounds an awful lot like sales advice…