Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 23 – the jobs and careers context 22

This is my 23rd 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 1-22.)

I have been working my way through a to-address topics list of points that are relevant to successfully navigating a new hire probationary period, since Part 18 of this, which I repeat here for smoother continuity of narrative, with links added for where I have already discussed its first five points:

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 (see Part 22.)
6. And 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 complete this narrative thread by turning to and addressing Point 6 of that list, though I have to note that I have already begun doing so in Part 22. To be more specific there, I focused in that posting when addressing Point 5, on what might more properly be considered a Point 6, Plan B example.

Start out with a primary Plan A approach in mind and with its more likely possibilities thought out, so you can minimize the likelihood of disconnects and inconsistencies that just proceeding ad hoc would more likely lead to. Plan out your basic, first try Plan A approach, and certainly when addressing what are likely to become complex overall challenges, to at least limit problems, and to help you better identify when they are arising and early, when they can be more easily corrected from. And as a starting point there, assume that any task or responsibility that rises to the level of complexity and importance for it to be explicitly included in your job description, rises to that level of complexity.

At least as importantly for purposes of this posting and its discussion, develop and pursue your Plan A with a measure of agility and resiliency as a goal, so you can accommodate a measure of the unexpected. And as a part of that, this means you’re being ready to switch to a new Plan B if needed, and with a smoother transition to that, than ad hoc alone could ever support.

That noted, let’s reconsider my social networking management example from Part 22, here very explicitly as a Plan B work-around and task completion endeavor:

• I did my due diligence research going into applying for that position, and for purposes of the interviewing and related processes that I would go through for it.
• But when I took that job and began it I uncovered an until-then more hidden side to this work position and its key tasks and priorities: something of the underlying relevant history as to why this business was trying to fill this position, and information and insight as to how and why earlier attempts at doing so with other new hires had failed.
• My focus in addressing this experience in Part 22 of this series was on how I had been taking the workplace and career-oriented success steps there, that I have been discussing in this series, and certainly since its Part 18, that built a foundation for my finding a way around some of the impasse that had caught up my predecessors there. I wrote in that installment of how I had paved the way for myself to be able to more effectively identify and access the resources that I needed, in order to carry out the key tasks that I had been hired to fulfill – and in that case despite my immediate supervisor there and his.
• I left out some fairly significant buy-in oriented negotiations with those two stakeholders in Part 22, as not being particularly relevant there. But I do note that they were very important, here in this Part 23 continuation of that narrative.
• What made these negotiations work? I would focus on two crucially salient details of that, here. First of all, I focused on how I was more effectively helping these managers to achieve their overriding goal of connecting with their business’ market and related community through online social media, and in ways that would facilitate all of their key personalized outreach and connection goals. My carrying out and completing this work would help them as well as the business, and I addressed their questions as to how I was doing this, in terms of my more effectively meeting their goals. And second, I focused on how this could be done with resources at hand, and in ways that would not blow up their budget, and for their department’s line on the table of organization or for their own more specific budget lines within that.
• This meant my shifting from an expected Plan A to a now pellucidly necessary Plan B and as quickly and smoothly as possible, and with the support of key stakeholders who my direct supervisor and his had to be able to work with. And it meant my coordinating my reports back to these managers, with feedback from these stakeholders who wanted to provide supportive help for this project and its completion: one key highly supportive department head definitely included there.
• I took this job, worked on their key projects that I was brought in for, doing so for about half a year, and then moved on to a next assignment elsewhere. And they got what they wanted and I did too.

And with this, I turn to some additional wording that I have added to the end of Point 6 as stated above, that I have repeated every time that I have repeated the above to-address list: “…and the importance of finding and addressing solutions to problems, and not assigning blame for them.”

Was I misled by the hiring manager who became my direct report supervisor there, and I add by his department head direct report supervisor who I also met with while being interviewed? Yes would be an arguably valid answer to that question. And they were not the only people there who were misleading at best, which is one reason why I never sought out further work with them and why I was happy to leave when I did. But would laying blame for any of this, or for any of the other issues that I faced at this place of employment, have helped me in any positive way while I was there? Nothing that I faced fit a pattern of workplace discrimination, or of any other fault-finding pattern that would reach of level of impact that would in any way demand my more formally complaining and seeking redress. So I found and developed my Plan B work-arounds where needed and negotiated buy-ins for them and I did my job there and left.

• If anything, the approach that I have just raised here applies even more importantly when you plan on staying on at a job long-term, that you resolve unexpected challenges and still meet goals and schedules as effectively as possible – while maintaining and even reinforcing buy-in and support for your efforts.

That is important: te same basic principles that I write of here, apply when you are working at a job and for a business that you would want to stay with, long-term. Preparing for possible Plan B’s should become all but automatic and certainly when you approach a complex task, project or other workplace responsibility, and with a goal of you’re being able to switch to one of them as smoothly and effectively as possible if needed, and with as many of the new resources that you would need for that either at hand or realistically available from their stakeholder sources for becoming so. No, it is not always going to be possible to fully achieve this goal, but effective preparation, and preparation that actively includes effective networking can go a long way in addressing possible gaps there.

• And then it is all a matter of doing the job and in as professional a manner as possible – and particularly if you feel put upon in some way by all of this and from how the need for a Plan B arose. Don’t go around assigning blame, and don’t focus on that in your own thoughts. Pick up these challenges, and address them as opportunities – opportunities for you to show your true capability and professional competence and get necessary work effectively, efficiently completed.
• Think of these here-and-now job issues as career-level opportunities and proceed accordingly.

I will have more to say regarding all six of the points of the above list, moving forward in this series as they remain important throughout the span of the jobs that you come to hold. But I at least preliminarily conclude this phase of this overall narrative here, with this final-for-now point. And with that, I am going to turn to consider negotiating in general as a jobs and careers tool set, beginning in my next series installment. That means looking way beyond any initial new hire probationary period to consider entire tenures as an employee with a given business, where promotions and more lateral moves, and possible career set-backs and recoveries from them and job description evolution in general can bring you to a position and to holding work responsibilities with an employer that could not have been imagined when you were first brought on-board.

This means discussing negotiations and all of the preparatory work that you would carry out leading up to them, and all of the post-meeting follow-through that those negotiations would lead to, if the results of them are to be effectively carried out. 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 topic 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.

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