Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 22 – the jobs and careers context 21

This is my 22nd 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 and its Page 4 continuation, postings 484 and following for Parts 1-21.)

I began discussing the new hire probationary period in this series in Part 14, and that transition period’s day two and following in Part 18. And as part of that continuing narrative, I have been successively discussing a set of issues relevant to any new hire who works in anything like a larger organization, that I repeat here for smoother continuity of narrative as I continue addressing them. (Note that I append here, links to where I have already at least preliminarily discussed the first four of these topics points, adding them in as parenthetical notes.)

1. Becoming a valued and appreciated member of a team, and fitting in (see Part 18.)
2. Business policy and business politics, and navigating them (see Part 19.)
3. Dealing with, and communicating and negotiating through the unexpected (see Part 20.)
4. Networking for success in the workplace (see Part 21.
5. Negotiating access to the resources that you need, as an ongoing workplace and career requirement.
6. Plan B planning and execution, and being prepared for the unexpected (and the importance of finding and addressing solutions to problems, and not assigning blame for them.)

My goal for this posting is to at least begin to discuss the above offered Point 5 and its issues. And to put that topic point into clearer perspective with the four that precede it, I repeat the anticipatory note that I appended to the end of Part 21 as a lead-in for this posting:

• “Up to here I have been writing in this posting progression about preparatory networking and conversations, and without you’re coming across as simply asking for others’ time and effort where that might primarily offer value to you. All of this has been about proactively paving a way for you to better fit in and both as a source of value to others and so that you can have a wider range of resources available when and if you need them for yourself too. I am going to turn to Point 5 of the above list in my next series installment, and the issues of actually tapping into and benefiting from the social networking connections and resources that you need, that this groundwork has at least hopefully made more available to you.”

Let’s begin addressing the issues of that bullet point by considering a very specific, and I add very real workplace situation that I have faced and that I have had to deal with, from my own work life experience. I was brought into a business as a new hire, with a set of what amounted to agenda-scaled tasks to carry out and complete that centered around helping that organization reach out and connect more effectively with their “larger surrounding community” and its members, through online social media. I had already faced counterparts to this challenge in the past, and expected to find myself facing essentially the same issues and challenges that I had to address there, in this new workplace. I knew going in that at least one other person had tried carrying out this task and without success, but I had been led to believe that their problem was more a matter of a lack of familiarity with online social networking, at least as a business-wide managed activity than anything else. Connecting into Facebook and other online social media sites as an individual user, and posting to them and responding to the posted content of others on them, is different than setting up and managing larger overall social media campaigns with all of the performance monitoring and all of the brand management issues that that entails. My point is that I walked into that job, expecting that this business had tried managing this workplace responsibility by asking someone who was individually active online and particularly on a site such as Facebook, to move from there into setting up and running a business-wide social media-based marketing campaign, and an open-ended one at that.

I started working there and quickly found that I was facing a very different underlying challenge, at least as far as my being able to carry out this work was involved. Actually setting up and managing this social media outreach and connections system called for a comprehensive database support system for holding all of the information about potentially connected community members, and active ones, and their levels and types of involvement, so the business could individually customize how it addressed the people it wanted to be actively engaged with, according to their history and their levels and types of interest in this. And that required an actively engaged expert at relational database programming. And neither my own direct supervisor there, nor their supervisor was at all happy with the prospect of bringing anyone else into this for fear of increasing the cost of this endeavor, even as they both saw this as crucially important to the organization as a whole and as holding very high priority for their own careers there too, to be able to say that they got this done.

Let’s consider this emergent challenge from a Point 4 perspective first, and in terms of reaching out to meet and network with as wide a range of potentially valuable contacts as possible, and from early on. One of the very first things that I did there was to begin reaching out to all of the key stakeholders who I could identify, and both within this business and from outside of it (e.g. with a relatively few high networking value people who I could readily identify up-front, who this business would want to reach in their online social media-connecting efforts. (See Part 21 of this series and an earlier posting: Social Network Taxonomy and Social Networking Strategy, for relevant information on hub networkers and other high value networking types.)

This definitely included all of the key gatekeeper level in-house stakeholders who would of necessity by involved in this project, and with them specifically included there because this project’s success would very significantly benefit them and their services and departments at this business if nothing else.

• I initially reached out to them to get to know them, and to make it clear that my goal there at that business was to help them reach their goals that this social media connectivity effort would enable.
• I initially reached out to them to introduce myself as a solution to problems, asking only for more detailed information as to what they needed from this and how it would connect into and support their already ongoing systems and programs.
• When I realized that I needed database help that I could not readily secure from direct support of my supervisor there, I reached out to one of those in-house stakeholders: the head of a large and well-funded department there, who saw particular value in this online social media endeavor, who was well connected with the database people there from his already ongoing work with them on other matters.

I had already established myself as someone who offered value and who returned it when helped. I picked my stakeholder to seek help from, very carefully and both for selecting the right one to reach out to and for reaching out with care and both for what help I asked for and for how I did that. I presented this entirely in terms of my more effectively and quickly helping to meet their needs, and not just in terms of their helping me – even if this stakeholder knew this would directly help me too.

• And as an outcome of this, I did secure the help of a database programmer, and one who was in fact looking for opportunities to get involved in wider ranges of activities there, in order to advance his own career. He did not want to be typecast as only being able to work in one narrow area of the business and saw this as a way out from that rut.
• And this department head stakeholder became a real ally out of this because we had successfully carried out a now-shared task of real value to both of us, or at least a crucial step in achieving that.

Success in this type of networking and in its working relationship building efforts, create positive bonds and strengthens them. And that creates opportunity for further collaborative efforts too.

• Build social networking bridges and from day one on a new job to the extent that is possible. Start this as early as possible and assiduously work at cultivating and expanding your reach there as the days pass and as you work your way through your initial probationary period and beyond.
• Start out by getting to know people and by helping them get to know you too. And present yourself as a positive, and as a source of solutions to problems rather than as a drain who would only seek out unreciprocated help from others.
• This means listening and really listening, and this means you’re coming to understand how your work does, or at least might fit into and support what others there are doing and what they are responsible for. Take notes; develop your own contacts information database to keep track of all of this.
• Then when – not if, when you eventually need help from one of these networking contact colleagues, pick who you would ask for information, insight or overt help from with forethought and care,
• Approach them and ask for this assistance with just as much care, taking their own workloads and their own needs into account when doing so,
• And do so with just as much care when considering the resources that they might be able to help you reach through next step networking.
• Be very focused and specific in what you ask for; you should not come across as asking for a blank check or for an open ended help account that you would just continue to draw from.
• And connect what you ask for from this contact to what you offer to them and can do for them too, presenting this as a transaction in an ongoing reciprocally beneficial relationship. Here, you goal is to build bridges as much as it is to benefit from them.

I am going to turn to Point 6 of the above list in my next series installment:

• Plan B planning and execution, and being prepared for the unexpected.

Then after discussing that set of issues, here from the perspective of navigating a new hire probationary period, I am going to turn to consider negotiating in general as a jobs and careers tool set. In anticipation of that next discussion thread to come here, I note that negotiations of this type essentially always take place and hold meaning in the context of change and its at least potential challenges and opportunities. That point of observation certainly applies to the points and issues that I have been raising and discussing in this series up to here. And it will continue to hold merit, and even defining merit in what is to come here too.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related material at Page 4 to my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, and also see its Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3. 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.)

One Response

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  1. Alan Singer said, on December 28, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Sometimes you just have to quit.

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