Ready, set, socialization!

The blog has been quieter than normal lately — I’m chalking it up to an unintentional side-effect of lots of self-induced change.

For me that has meant a new city, a new social environment, and a new academic home. I’m smack-dab in the middle of a socialization bonanza. And it’s got me thinking about how we as teams, and organizations make sense of, and orientate around “what’s new”, and “what’s changed” in a new environment.

As adults, is this something we want to discover for ourselves, and/or at what point in the process would we rather learn the ropes with an instructional guide and a buddy by our side?

Socialization as a process goes both ways, from person to organization and visa-versa. But, as we age, and add more experience to our belts, do we want or need to rely on our organizations for the lay of the land?

We all go through some sort of formal on-boarding process. It can last an hour, a week, 6 months even. My graduate school orientation lasted for just a few hours. There, a new cohort of 100 people who would be spending the greater part of the next two years together walked out of orientation not having formally learned anyone else’s name.  I have to say, it bothered me.

How much mandated socialization is too much socialization? I don’t have the answers, yet.

But a diversity of experiences helps us tune in to how much socialization we need to feel comfortable, especially when we feel like the stakes are raised. Maybe there is no secret formula, but if there is, I envision successful socialization as having these elements:

1. Differences are a commodity, not a liability

2. Socialization is personal

3. It starts before you arrive on campus

4. We are given time to reflect on the change

What would you add to this list and why?

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