As I continue to assimilate into a new role with a new company in a new industry complete with its own lexicon, library of acronyms and secret handshakes, I continue to remind myself “none of that matters.”

It’s a natural reaction to slow-play your integration into a new role. No one likes the guy/girl who comes in with guns blazing, a-whompin’ and a-whumpin’ every living thing before they know the company dynamics. So how long do you wait before you engage? Six months? A year? A week?

If you are MY investment, that’s not the plan. I want you in the mix on Day One. How, exactly do you do that? You unpack your suitcase.

We all carry a quiver of skills with us to any role we assume. That’s why you see people with absolutely no specific experience in a job actually assume leadership of others in the role.  You see it in professional sports all the time; think Erik Spoelstra, who progressed from intern to head coach and never played a lick of pro ball. While some skills are applicable in a specific manner based on your employer, the reason you were (*theory alert, I can’t prove this) hired has less to do with your CV and more to do with your “you-ness.” (Hehe, I just said it out loud and realized I’m saying “Eunice.”)

The inherent traits that make you who you are – those skills travel with you everywhere. One of the exercises I use when coaching managers is to have them write down single words to describe the best boss they ever had, put them on a sticky note and place it in one of three categories: technical expertise, industry experience, or “other.” I didn’t invent this exercise, btw, it’s an old HBR drill to prove a point – by and large, the best (or worst) bosses/leaders/managers are those who have the soft skills inherent in them: empathy, trustworthiness, good listeners, good communicators, motivating, energetic, optimistic, and so on. Try it with your team – it’s not even close. It doesn’t matter where you work or what the role is, these skills travel well.

Remember that as you start a new adventure, stretch assignment, or have a battle with Imposter Syndrome. Your suitcase is full, you just need to remember to open it.

25 years after accidentally landing in Human Resources, and still miles to go before I sleep. I have worked the wild and changing spectrum of the healthcare segment as a recruiter, generalist, business partner and team leader. Public, private, PE-backed, start-up ventures and merging entities – I’ve worked with them all, As an opinion leader in the Human Resources community, my blog, “HR Hardball” has become one of the most visible and popular sites for transparent discussion on the challenges facing HR professionals. I’m also a featured contributor for Fistful of Talent, co-author of “What’s Next in Human Resources” and now a contributor to the good folks with the HR Exchange Network.

HR Hardball…where “Human Behavior Meets Human Resources”