When people join a company, coming from another one, they need to marry different worlds:
- The one of the company they have left which, by definition, is worse than the one joining. Interpret ‘worse’ as you wish. It does not mean terrible but, unless exceptional circumstances, they move to a ‘better place’.
- The one they imagine the new one will be, which could be idealized or simply heavily contaminated by ‘confirmation bias’, that is, the one they want to be and expect to be, which could be different from
- The one it is
Three identities are competing for airtime.
Leaving the company, is assisted by ‘cognitive dissonance’ (once the decision is made, the tranquilizer mechanisms of the brain kick off: ‘good decision, they were so bad at this and that; so many new opportunities’). It’s difficult to fight cognitive dissonance. Your brain will insist that it was a good decision for a while. Can’t stand the dissonance, that is what i means.
Joining the new one, is assisted by that confirmation bias as above: ‘look how different they are, this is heaven, compared, they were so impressive at the interview’.
Both, cognitive dissonance (‘I can’t accept it was a bad decision’) and confirmation bias (‘they are what I needed, those values, those ways of working’) will help each other for weeks, months or perhaps years.
Reality eventually will kick in, and a new identity will be formed, which, in many cases, may be somewhere in between. It was not that bad before (‘when I was in X, we did a great leadership programme that..’ ) and the new greener pasture was not that green after all.
Our minds are a box of tricks. The human mind is a playground. As somebody said, a tree full of monkeys.