Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 26 – the jobs and careers context 25

This is my 26th 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 1-25.)

I began addressing the first of a list of issues in Part 25 that can and do arise throughout a work tenure with an employer, many if not most of which are all but certain to come up for you if you continue working there long enough. And for smoother continuity of narrative and to put that first topics point into a wider perspective as will be discussed here, I repeat that list in full as:

1. Changes in tasks assigned, and resources that would at least nominally be available for them: timeline allowances and work hour requirements definitely included there,
2. Salary and overall compensation changes,
3. Overall longer-term workplace and job responsibility changes and constraints box issues as change might challenge or enable your reaching your goals there,
4. Promotions and lateral moves,
5. Dealing with difficult people,
6. And negotiating possible downsizings and business-wide events that might lead to them. I add this example last on this list because navigating this type of challenge as effectively as possible, calls for skills in dealing with all of the other issues on this list and more, and with real emphasis on Plan B preparation and planning, and execution too, as touched upon in Part 23.

To be more precise, I noted and set aside in Part 25, the issues and questions of precisely why work responsibilities change, and sometimes rapidly and very significantly so. And I began to consider and address the issues and questions of how best to manage this type of change, insofar as that can be possible, so as to make it work for you. This is where negotiating skills and processes enter this narrative and that is the core area of discussion that I will delve into here. As such, this posting is essentially entirely about balancing the work requirements that you carry with the resources and resource availability that you would require, in order to fulfill your new work responsibilities load, and effectively productively so, and on time. And it is all about you’re gaining agreed to support in securing access to those resources, when and as you need them. And I begin this line of discussion by briefly recapping a set of contingency issues that can arise when dealing with these issues, as offered at the end of Part 25 as a teaser for what would come here, with the issues and questions of:

• What you might be allowed to set aside from your current work responsibilities as you take on new responsibilities,
• What you might be allowed to shift to a lower priority in what you still have to do from your old and ongoing work, with more relaxed completion schedules allowed for that where necessary,
• And for what resources you might be allowed for doing all of this – specific colleague support included, when and as needed and with the schedule and responsibilities juggling that this would involve and the negotiations that this would involve too, included as you seek to accommodate their needs too.

I begin addressing these and related negotiations issues here, by explicitly making note of a detail that can become the critically defining source of success or failure for you in these discussions:

• The importance of knowing the goals and priorities that drive the people who you need to be able to negotiate with in this, and the pressures that would shape their decisions and their negotiating arguments,
• And thinking through and knowing where you can safely and even beneficially for you, back down and give the other side a point of victory in this, in order to gain greater leverage and credibility as a fair bargainer, when pressing for the points that you cannot comfortably give ground on, or relent on outright.

Both halves to that are crucial; you need to understand the people who you would negotiate with and as well as you know and understand your own positions and how you have arrived at them insofar as that can be possible. And you need to know what is and is not centrally important to you and what you can and might even want to give ground on, in establishing an equitable quid pro quo relationship that you can build mutual trust and agreement from. And that brings me directly to the issues of resource availability, where that can include materials, tools, information, timing allowances, specialized support from colleagues, or at times just an extra set of hands there to help manage the work flow, and more; this can include essentially anything that you would need to do your job that you do not carry in your own hands and your own skills and experience set, and that you cannot cover with your own unaided and unsupported labor on its own.

I begin addressing that complex of issues by posing some basic questions, that can easily be overlooked in the heat of the moment, when first confronted by what can come across as immediately impending and compelling need for change here.

• What new resources would you actually need?
• And for what specific tasks?
• And with what timing, and both for start time and expected duration? (Allow for a margin of extra time allowed there if possible.)
• And at what levels of need and with what relative priorities?

Start out by thinking this all through and both for possible resource availability and for task achievability, assuming here that you might not in fact be able to negotiate more favorable terms for how and when you would carry out this new work: completing it or reaching agreed to or at least required performance benchmarks for it. Start out by thinking through and knowing the consequences that you would face if you cannot in fact gain any of what you would seek to negotiate for here. Think of this as your first alternative to a negotiated agreement: not necessarily a best possible alternative there, but a starting point benchmark that you can plan and negotiate from where you at least know the consequences and the significance of not being able to bargain on any of the what, how, when or other details that you face in this.

• Now prioritize and know where you can give in on a resource request and where you really need some specific new, or new level of some specific resource that you cannot simply give on and still meet your new work requirements.
• And as a crucial additional detail here in thinking through those resources: all of the ones that I have cited by way of example, up to here in addressing topics Point 1 – all of them can be considered short-term insofar as they are all very task type and task implementation-specific, and access to them relates directly to your more effectively addressing your immediate here and now. But business supported professional training in new skills that you might need to master as you proceed in your work with this business, can be considered as a critically important new resource for you in this too, and a longer-term one. And depending on what New you face in what you would do now and moving forward in your work, this and other long-term resources can readily become among the most essential resources that you would have to be able to negotiate for and gain access to if you are to continue to succeed in your work there. Think in terms of short-term, here and now value, and longer-term value creating possibilities when considering and prioritizing and arguing a case for access to the resources that you would need.

I am going to continue this overall discussion in a next series installment where I will turn to consider the above Point 2 and its issues:

• Salary and overall compensation changes, and I add title and official recognition of the work that you would do there too, cutting ahead at least in part to at least make note of Point 4 and its issues as they relate to this.

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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