Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 15 – the jobs and careers context 14

This is my 15th installment to a series on negotiating in a professional context, starting with the more individually focused side of that as found in jobs and careers, and going from there to consider the workplace and its business-supportive negotiations (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 484 and following for Parts 1-14.)

I began to more formally and explicitly discuss the new hire, probationary period that we all go through when we start a new job in Part 14. And my goal there was to at least briefly outline the more standard and expected flow of activities that you would go through on your first day at that new job, besides your first formal orienting meeting with your now direct supervisor and manager there as they complete their transition from dealing with you as part of a hiring process, and as they formally begin to work with you as a member of their team.

I argued a case in Part 14 for your viewing this meeting as the most long-term consequential task that you will participate in on this, your first day at your new job. And I developed Part 14 of this series as orienting background for this posting, where I will at least begin to explicitly discuss this all important, if often less than fully appreciated meeting. And to clarify why I said that, I add in repetition to an observation shared in Part 14, that what happens and what is agreed to in this meeting will set the stage for all that follows, and for as long as you remain employed at that business.

• Your first formal meeting with your new boss and supervisor there will determine in detailed outline precisely what will constitute success for you in the new hire probationary period that you are just entering.
• But just as importantly, and going way beyond that generally 90 day period, this also sets a starting foundation for your longer term tenure there by establishing what your supervisor and the business as a whole can and will expect from you, and expect your being capable of doing there.
• “Expected and agreed to” for the probationary period, and the new hire impression that you make in how that is arrived at and in how you succeed at fulfilling it, will set the stage for all that will follow.
• The adage that first impressions last and that they can be very difficult to change to the extent that they can be at all, applies here. You made a first impression as a job candidate and in your job candidate interviews. That will carry over here. But as a now-insider at this business and an actual employee there, you make what amounts to a second first impression at this meeting, where the issues and priorities are very different than they were before you were hired and with your now-supervisor viewing you through new eyes, accordingly. Before you were hired, you were a possibility that no one at the business: your now new supervisor included, were significantly invested in. Now you are working there and your being hired has forced your supervisor to take a more committed position regarding your success. They, after all, put at least something of their reputation on the line for having selected and hired you from among the full pool of candidates who applied, if nothing else.

I did not discuss negotiations or negotiating in Part 14, though elements of them can and do enter into the largely more routine and standardized activities discussed in that series installment too. The meeting that I discuss here is all about negotiating, and it is one where forethought and preparation on your part are essential, and certainly as you proceed in your probationary period there and find yourself having to live up to and succeed at what you have agreed to in this meeting. My goal for this posting, more specifically, is to discuss the preparation that you should carry through upon as your due diligence here, leading up to this meeting.

• Start by thinking through all of the goals and priorities that your now-supervisor raised and discussed with you when you were first interviewing with them, and by reviewing what you found about this business, and the area of it that you are now working in, from your earlier job search research. This definitely should include your reviewing and thinking through the details that were raised as work responsibilities and goals for you if hired there. But you should leaven this more focused review with a wider ranging review of more contextual insight that you may have gleaned there too: a review of what you have learned about the business as it actually functions as a whole, and about its larger context. That additional wider ranging insight can help you to put the work that you would do there into a more meaningful context, and help as you and your now supervisor settle on the details for it.
• Think through your skills and experience sets and look for higher priority goals and task requirements that you can more easily meet, making these easier areas in your probationary period goals and priorities list to come, for you to quickly succeed at. Think through where you and your supervisor can come to agreement on early, easier victories that you can reach in initially establishing yourself there.
• Now just as importantly, think through and acknowledge to yourself where you have learning curve issues in the what and how of your upcoming work tasks and responsibilities, and where negotiating terms and timing can be crucial for this first meeting.
• For both of the above two bullet pointed items, remember that accessing essential resources can easily move a probable task requirement from one of those lists to the other and particularly if your supervisor and theirs, and the business as a whole will require that you effectively complete some specific goals oriented task A on a very short timeframe, where accomplishing that and certainly within that timeframe would require your securing specific help from specialized skills colleagues to complete, or access to other similarly timely bottleneck resources.

I have been developing the above bullet point list as a discussion of how you can and should prepare for this meeting, starting in your pre-hire interviews as a what-if, or if-then exercise, and leading up to this first day on your new job. And as a transition detail, I add one more such point to the above list:

• Expect change and the unexpected when you actually meet with your now-supervisor, and for how expected tasks that you were initially hired to take care of are prioritized, if nothing else.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment, where I will discuss your first formal meeting itself that this preparation would lead to: meeting in-office with your new supervisor as they formally lay out your upcoming goals and priorities, and as you come to agreement with them on those issues and their key details, and on how you will work on them and complete them. As part of that, I will also discuss the possibility of your also less formally meeting with your new supervisor as part of this process, perhaps over lunch that day. Any such secondary meeting with them should be considered part of this same job starting step too.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related material at Page 3 to my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, and also see its Page 1 and Page 2. And you can also find this series at Social Networking and Business 2 and also see its Page 1 for related material. And for relevant background and a systematic discussion of the new hire probationary period as a whole, as organized from day one on, see : Starting a New Job, Building a New Foundation, as can also be found at Page 1 of that Guide (as its postings 73-88.)

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