Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Some thoughts concerning a general theory of business 24: considering first steps toward developing a general theory of business 16

This is my 24th installment to a series on general theories of business, and on what general theory means as a matter of underlying principle and in this specific context (see Reexamining the Fundamentals directory, Section VI for Parts 1-23.)

I have been discussing, since Part 20 of this, a brief set of what can be seen as hiring process exceptions that can categorically arise in businesses, and that impact upon employees and potential employees as well as upon management, when they arise. And my goal in that developing narrative has been to use these real-world business process-based, interpersonal interactions as grounding points for discussing more general issues that would help illuminate and develop a more general theory of business as a whole.

I began discussing two such hiring situations in Part 23, that I repeat here as I continue to address them, as renumbered here from the original, more complete list. Please note that both of these exception scenarios are offered in contrast to a more normative hiring context scenario that they would prove to be an explicit exception to, with their normative counterpart offered first:

1. More routine positions, managerial or not – versus – special skills and experience new hires, hands-on or managerial. (Here, the emphasis in this second possibility is in finding and bringing in people with rare and unusual skills and experience sets that are in high demand, and at levels of need that exceed any realistic pool of available candidates holding them.)
2. And job candidates and new hires and employees who reached out to the business, applying for work there as discussed up to here in this narrative, doing so on their own initiative – versus – professionals who might not even be explicitly looking for new job opportunities who the business itself has reached out to, to at least attempt to bring them in-house as special hires and as special for all that would follow.

I started out comparing and contrasting these two hiring exception scenarios in Part 23, and then began to consider them from a participant-oriented game theory-based strategy perspective there, building that line of discussion from the points of similarity and of difference that I had just noted for them. Or to be more specific here, I began to so analyze the first of those two hiring scenarios in that installment in that manner. My goal for this posting is to take that same approach as a tool for examining and understanding the second of those scenarios too, and with further points of comparison between the two added in while doing so. And I begin this by at least briefly repeating, and then expanding on a basic point that I made in Part 23 when considering the above renumbered (and somewhat rephrased) Scenario 1, that holds pivotal importance in any theory of business as a whole and across wide ranges of context as they would arise in them:

• The phenomenon of competing alternative strategies, and how real world business contexts can come to require reconciling and coordinately following more than one such strategic approach at the same time – or at least finding a workable and mutually acceptable hybrid combination of them.
• It is obvious that different participants: different players, to couch this in game theory terms can and often do hold to differing and even overtly competing strategies and goals as they interact and seek to influence the interactive processes that arise between them and the goals reached from that.
• When I raise the issues of competing strategies here, I am focusing on competing alternatives that can arise and play out within the individual participants involved there, as for example when they individually have to simultaneously find and promote negotiated approaches that would work for them on both a short and a long-term basis, or in accordance with essentially any other dichotomous (at least) parameter that would hold importance to them, while pressing them with significantly differing alternative best paths forward.

As noted in Part 23, potential new hires who would fit into a Scenario 1 pattern as offered above, and both from their own perspective and from that of a hiring company, generally have specific currently must-have skills and experience sets that that hiring business feels compelled to add to their staff capabilities and as quickly and early as possible. This type of scenario is most likely going to arise for businesses that operate in very fast paced and rapidly changing, technology-driven business arenas that are continually racing to achieve an ever-changing goal: top position in a very competitive industry. As such, this scenario is usually all about businesses seeking a new and cutting edge technology advantage over their competition, and certainly while the defining edge sought in winning this is new and emerging skills-set driven race, would still hold first mover advantage for them in capturing emerging new markets. And that dynamic leads to both short-term and longer-term consequences, and a need for both short term and long term strategy and from both the would-be employee, and from the would-be hiring business perspective, and with game theory-defined strategic understandings to all of this, to match and for both sides of this too.

A job candidate seeking out this type of hiring opportunity has to be able to leverage any possible advantage that they might be able to offer from their holding a still rare, high demand skills and experience set, while those special capabilities attributes still hold this type of defining value for them. So they need to be able to negotiate towards a hiring decision from their side of the table that would leverage their being able to achieve their goals, and help them gain the best possible terms of employment and compensation levels, commensurate with the current (but perhaps soon to fade) special value of what they have to offer now, and with a short-term strategic approach pursued in doing this. But at the same time, if they want to stay employed at that business longer term instead of only pursuing shorter-term gigs as an ongoing career path, they need to develop a relationship with this hiring manager who will be their supervisor and direct boss there, and with this business, that is not going to chaff and create resentment there too. This, of course holds for terms of employment and the details and levels agreed to in the overall compensation package.

I offer that last point with my own direct experience in mind, where I once found myself taking a consulting assignment that could in principle have lasted longer than it did – but I negotiated terms from too much of a short-term perspective and not from a longer-term one. So that business agreed to bring my in to work with them, but at a pay rate that they came to see as too out of range from what they paid others at the same level in their organization to be long-term sustainable. That realization on the part of this hiring business, I add, colored my entire work experience there, and even as I successively achieved the goals that I was initially brought in to work towards. And that brings me to the hiring manager and business side of this. They seek to meet the short term strategy requirements that they face in being able to bring in necessary and even essential skills and experience, but in ways that are going to be longer-term sustainable too – assuming that is, that they are not simply hiring short-term and intentionally so as their basic strategy.

Now let’s consider these same types of issues from a Scenario 2 perspective, where a business has decided to seek the services of some specific individual as a new hire, who they reach out to and attempt to convince to work for them, and regardless of their current work and employment status. These efforts are not generally directed towards addressing short-term needs, and the people they would bring in usually have skills and experience sets that they would want to retain longer-term. So their shorter term and here-and-now strategies and tactics for this would revolve around their seeking to catch the interest of such a potential hire, and in ways that would bring them in through their doors. Their longer-term strategy here would align with that, and function as a continuation of it, with a goal of finding a mutually agreeable overall, terms of employment and compensation package that both sides of these negotiations could live with moving forward.

• Both the potential new hire and the potentially hiring business in this, seek to reach an agreement that would best serve their particular needs and for both of these hiring scenarios. Short term, and certainly when only considering that timeframe, this would likely mean both of these two sides pursuing more of a win-lose strategy approach, that would at least likely turn out to be at least somewhat close to being diametrically opposed.
• But both of the types of scenarios under consideration here, and the above-stated Scenario 2 in particular are essentially never short-term only and for either side of the negotiating table. So it is usually in the best interest of all parties to seek out more of a win-win solution here and once again, most certainly where Scenario 2 applies.

This leads me to the final crucially important point that I would address here in this posting: business systems friction and the fact that neither side to the negotiations that are under consideration here is going to know enough of the information that is held on the other side of the table to be able to make an optimally best-for-them decision when crafting the offers that they would propose. Neither side, for example, is certain to know if their counterparts on the other side of the table are negotiating with others too, and even if they do know that they are unlikely to know the crucial details they would have to compete with there. And neither side is going to know the outer parameters as to what the other side would deem acceptable, and either in detail for specific points or in overall balance where significant trade-offs might be possible.

How conservative in their thought and actions are the people involved in these negotiations? And how much would they seek to press the limits of what might be possible and achievable for their side, on the assumption that they could probably concede ground if needed when making adjusted offers and still keep these negotiations in play? Personalities involved, and basic business and negotiating styles pursued here can become very important, and both in shaping any dual or alternative negotiating tactics and approaches pursued, and in identifying and understanding the thinking on the other side of the table. (Look to the corporate culture in place in the hiring business, and the corporate cultures that a potential hire here, have succeeded in and even thrived in, that they might turn to for guidance as they negotiate possible next career moves that they might accept.)

• The points that I have been making here, and certainly in the last several paragraphs, while framed in terms of a hire-or-not negotiations, hold much wider importance in understanding the dynamics of business decision making and the agreements and disagreements that can arise in them, and both when dealing with outside stakeholders and when negotiating strictly in-house and across what can become highly competitive boundaries there.

I am going to more fully explore and discuss that last bullet point in my next series installment. And then I am going to turn to and consider the last hiring scenario from my original list in the next installment to this series, as first offered in Part 20as noted above: nepotism as a specific case in point example of how hiring process exceptions can take more toxic forms. I will consider intentionally, overtly family owned and run businesses in that context, that simply seek to keep their business in their family, there. And I will also discuss more overtly problematical examples of how this type of scenario can play out too. Then after completing that line of discussion, at least for purposes of this series, I will step back from consideration of theories of business and special case contexts that they apply to, as an overall special categorical form of general theory, to delve into a set of what have become essential foundation elements for that discussion, with further consideration of general theories per se. I began this series in its Parts 1-8 by offering a start to an approach to thinking about and understanding general theories as such. I will add some further basic building blocks to that foundation after completing my business theory discussion here, up through a point where a new hire first successfully joins a business as an in-house employee, hands-on or managerial. Then I will turn back to further consider general theories of business per se, on the basis of that now-enlarged general theory discussion.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related material about what I am attempting to do here at About this Blog and at Blogs and Marketing. And I include this series in my Reexamining the Fundamentals directory, as topics section VI there, where I offer related material regarding theory-based systems. And I also include this individual participant oriented subseries of this overall theory of business series in Page 3 of my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, as a sequence of supplemental postings there.

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Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 12 – the jobs and careers context 11

This is my 12th 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 1-11.)

I have been progressively discussing the stages in a job search in this series, starting for that in its Part 2. And I have developed that narrative to a point where I assume that you have been selected as one of a small number of top candidates who have been brought in for interviews: first with someone from Human Resources and then with the hiring manager who owns this job opening and this hiring process for it. And as a part of that last stage in this overall process, I have been discussing interviews with other stakeholders who this hiring manager would bring into this process.

More specifically, I have been focusing here on these stakeholder interviewers since Part 9, where I introduced and began discussing this following list of to-address points:

1. Why would a hiring manager bring other stakeholders into what is essentially their hiring decision making step? (See Part 9 for my discussion of this point.)
2. And closely aligned with that question: who would they bring into this process and what would these stakeholders discuss with a job candidate? (See Part 9 and Part 10.)
3. And how would their input and insight be used in making a hire-or-not decision? (See Part 10 and Part 11 for my discussion of this.)
4. And given these questions and their issues, how can you as a job candidate most effectively meet with, and communicate and negotiate with these people, each with their own reasons for being included here and each with their own goals and interests in this process, so as to help you to achieve your own desired goals out of this overall interviewing process?

I began addressing Point 4 of that list towards the end of Part 11 by offering the following orienting thoughts, which I repeat here as I will build from them in this posting:

• Anyone who is brought into this process as an involved stakeholder interviewer has had to find ways to push this added task into what was already a very, very busy work schedule and in the face of tight deadlines that they will still have to meet. Having to meet with job candidates will not qualify as a valid excuse for delays in delivering their expected results for their regular workload task requirements. And this holds for stakeholders who chose to be included and even actively so, as much as it does for those who are “requested” to participate.
• And everyone so involved as participants on the interviewer side of the table, is going to have their own specific reasons for having been included there too. The candidate who is selected and hired will have an impact on what they do and on what they have to do and get completed. So they have reasons for wanting to be there and for wanting to be involved in this, and even if they have to get creative to find the time to do this too.
• Now, and given the dynamics of the first two of these bullet points, how can you as a job candidate better understand the underlying needs and priorities of the people who you meet with: the hiring manager and these stakeholder interviewers included? And focusing back on these stakeholder interviewers again, how can you find and develop a sense of shared alignment between what you offer and can do, and what they want and need, and in a way that would show that you are the candidate who they could most easily and comfortably work with in achieving their goals? How, in other words, can you make allies out of these people, for when they report back to the hiring manager who will make the final officially stated hiring decision here?

I begin this posting and its narrative by drawing a crucially important point of comparison between these interviewer participants and the hiring manager who at least nominally brings them into this process. Ultimately, a hiring manager takes on the task of hiring a new member of their team and with all of the time and effort consuming commitment that that calls for, starting with developing a business vetted and approved job description, because they want to find someone who can make their life easier at work, by taking some critically important task or set of them off of their desk so they do not have to worry about them, or directly deal with them anymore, themselves. Stakeholder interviewers, for the most part, are brought into this process because the work that a new hire would carry out in this position, would address one of their more significant workplace goals and priorities needs too. So while they might grumble at the inconvenience of having to add this interviewing task into their already overloaded work schedules, they can still see this as worthwhile and regardless of the ripple effect consequences they would have to face when so participating, that taking on this commitment is going to have on their own work schedules and efforts.

• You can think of this point as an all but axiomatic truth: the people who would be drawn into these interview processes as stakeholder interviewers are always going to be busy and in demand, and they are always going to hold positions of significant responsibility – and regardless of their titles held at work. People who have idle time on their hands at work and consistently so are not going to be called upon for this type of interviewing task, as they are not going to be crucially involved in or counted upon for completing any of the more pressing work that any new such hire would have to do.

If you find a business where the above point does not hold, you have probably found a business that you would not want to work at, unless of course your goal is to help them institute or carry through upon a change management remediation.

If your goal here is to “make allies out of these people, for when they report back to the hiring manager who will make the final officially stated hiring decision”, how can an active awareness of this context that they are meeting with you in help you to achieve this? Finding a more effective way to address that question, is to core topic of this posting. And I begin at least, to answer that by highlighting a point that is all too often lost to the interviewee when seeking employment, but that is crucial to their success in getting hired to a best-for-them job:

• You are interviewing the people who you meet with at a hiring business, just as they are interviewing you.

What does this mean in a practical sense, in this context? Yes, a significant part of these conversations will involve you’re answering questions and providing information that is more about yourself and your background, training and skills, and goals. But from your perspective, you’re listening and asking questions, and insightful ones can be much more important. You are there as a possible answer to at least one of the problems or challenges that each of these interviewers brings to the table with them, when they meet with you. So you need to listen to their expressed needs and priorities and you need to ask questions that explicitly connect to and address them. And it is important that you provide supportive feedback responses to what they say as they answer your follow-up questions there, that indicate that you are listening, that you understand what they are saying and that you share an awareness with them of the importance of the issues that they have brought with them. So actively listen and learn – and offer further details as to your own background and experience and your own job and career goals as appropriate, that mesh with what they are looking for and with what they need. Note: I just said “offer further details” there, as it is very likely that these people will have reviewed copies of your resume and cover and any other you-provided documentation that is available to them (e.g. your LinkedIn or other online profile and certainly as can be found on professionally oriented networking sites.) So these people will start out already knowing the basic details of your professional background and you probably will not have to cover that level or type of detail about yourself unless one of these interviewers asks questions that would call for that.

• Put somewhat differently, but with the same end point goal as the core point that the above narrative is directed towards, you cannot effectively present yourself as the answer to someone else’ problems if you do not know what those problems are, or if you cannot convey a clear sense to them that you do understand and value those issues and challenges.

Too many of us go into an interview presuming that this meeting is all about us. Interviews are in fact about us insofar as the people meeting with us are hoping that they will find us to be an effective source of answers and solutions to their problems – or at least to one of them. And that is the central area of discussion that these interviewers are going to be most concerned about. They generally ask at least some more general questions about the people who they meet with to interview, but ultimately, we are there as interviewees as possible answers to at least one of their more pressing needs, and these meetings are ultimately all about that. So our goal is to present ourselves as their best choice in addressing those needs and concerns.

Listen. Ask questions based on what you hear, and to gain further insight and understanding, as you peel back the layers and unearth the details of the issues you have been brought there to discuss. And selectively add further background details as to who you are and what you can do, that would address their needs and priorities, and in ways that would indicate that you are someone they could comfortably work with. And you’re listening to them and you’re showing interest in what they have to say, and you’re offering mirroring comments and asking clarifying questions, will go a long way in you’re establishing yourself as the candidate they would most want to bring onboard and work with. You will have made these interviewers your allies to the extent that you can accomplish this.

I am going to continue this narrative in a next series installment, where I will assume that you have become the top choice candidate and that the hiring manager who you have met with, and other involved stakeholders would like to bring you in as a new hire. That means, as already noted in earlier anticipatory notes concerning series installments to come, discussing negotiations as to terms of employment. Then, looking ahead, I will turn to consider the new hire probationary period as will begin with your day one on this new job.

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 I particularly recommend your at least briefly reviewing a specific job search best practices series that I developed here on the basis of both my own job search experience and from working with others going through that: Finding Your Best Practices Plan B When Your Job Search isn’t Working, as can be found at Page 1 of my above-noted Guide as its postings 56-72.

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 11 – the jobs and careers context 10

This is my 11th 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 1-10.)

I have been focusing in recent series installments, on the interviewing process that top candidates for an open position at a business would go through as part of the hiring selection process. And to be more specific there, I have been focusing on interviews with key stakeholders who a hiring manager would bring into this process, and the why and how of that. So I begin this posting by repeating my to-address list of questions and issues that are related to that topic area that I have been discussing here, and with a goal of continuing that process in this posting too:

1. Why would a hiring manager bring other stakeholders into what is essentially their hiring decision making step? (See Part 9 for my discussion of this.)
2. And closely aligned with that question: who would they bring into this process and what would these stakeholders discuss with a job candidate? (See Part 9 and Part 10.)
3. And how would their input and insight be used in making a hire-or-not decision? (See Part 10 for the first orienting part of my response to this, which I will continue building from here in this posting.)
4. And given these questions and their issues, how can you as a job candidate most effectively meet with, and communicate and negotiate with these people, each with their own reasons for being included here and each with their own goals and interests in this process, so as to help you to achieve your own desired goals out of this overall interviewing process?

My goals for this series installment is to complete my response to the above Point 3, at least for purposes of this series, and then at least begin to address Point 4 with its question and issues. And I begin that and addressing Point 3 by repeating (here slightly rephrased) a point of observation that I offered at the end of Part 9 as foundational material for this posting, and in anticipation of it:

• How the input and insight offered by these stakeholders would be used in making a hire-or-not decision, depends in large part or even entirely for that matter, on the role that these colleagues play in that process as discussed in Parts 9 and 10, and the relationship that they have with the hiring manager who they would report their interview findings too. Their role and their acted-upon stake in this hiring decision process depends on what type of a stakeholder they are, from the hiring manager’s perspective and their overall relationship with them.

I have parsed the general categories of within-team insider versus “outsider” stakeholders, and of outsider stakeholders themselves in Parts 9 and 10, and have done so in several ways in the course of writing those postings. And I begin this discussion by parsing these stakeholders in yet one more way:

• Stakeholders who are selected for inclusion in this interviewing process by the hiring manager as a consequence of their own decision making processes,
• And stakeholders (here, usually outsiders to the hiring manager’s own work team) who are in effect imposed upon them by others, as being necessary to include here.

I have seen stakeholders of that second category added in at the “request” of a more senior manager or executive who the hiring manager reports to. And this has generally, at least in my experience, represented situations where a more senior manager seeks to take an active hand in a candidate selection process that is more officially being managed and carried out by a more junior manager, and generally one who reports to them – but without their overtly taking over this task.

A hiring manager is more commonly advised to actively include any imposed category stakeholders in the interviewing schedules, that are being set up for meeting with the top job candidates who have made it that far in the hiring process. This type of inclusion is less often presented to a hiring manager as a direct order. But either way, this always amounts to a more senior manager giving the hiring manager involved here, what amounts to a de fact direct order anyway. And hiring managers who finds themselves in this position should at the very least listen to what these outside stakeholders have to say. And they should be sure to require that all stakeholder interviewers offer their assessments in writing, and regardless of how they were selected for inclusion in this. But with the office politics issues of Part 10 in mind, this can still leave a significant amount of flexibility as to what the hiring manager does with this input and certainly if they can argue the case that they did listen to all involved stakeholders.

But before addressing that in any detail, I would offer and at least somewhat develop a simple, crucially important point. Before deciding what to make of these outside imposed stakeholders and their input, it is imperative that the hiring manager who is officially making this hiring decision, understand the why and how of their inclusion in this process.

• What role, and what personal stake does the more senior manager involved here, have in whatever tasks or goals that this new hire would be brought in to manage or resolve? Expressed somewhat differently and a lot more directly, does the senior manager or executive who imposes their selections of stakeholder interviewers in this, see the job that this new hire would carry out as being at least essential for the completion of one of their own pet projects that this hiring manager is simply carrying out for them, or are they getting involved here for other reasons?
• And what more direct relationship if any, might exist between this senior manager and at least one of the potential candidates under consideration? Do they have particular reasons to want to see one of the people under consideration here, hired for this job? And if so, why? Yes, the possibility of nepotism is always going to be present in this type of situation, but sometimes a more senior manager or executive wants to bring in a specific individual to test them out, and groom them for a particular next job and career advancement if they work out, and as they learn the area of the business that they would start out in.
• And what if anything, does this forced stakeholder inclusion participation on the part of the more senior manager, say about their relationship with and level of trust in the reliability of the hiring manager? Do they tend to micromanage, or are they using this to test out the validity of concerns that they might have as to the hiring manager’s performance or abilities? Here, these outside stakeholder might in effect be interviewing the hiring manager, even as they interview the job candidates.

Why do I delve into these issues here? I do so to highlight that the interviewing process and who is included in it from the business’ side of the table and why, are not necessarily about you as a job candidate or about the final top candidate group that is actually brought in for interviewing. Yes, a great deal of the selection process for determining who should interview the top candidates for an open position at a business, is going to be based on the job opening itself and on identifying the best candidate of those available for filling it. But a lot more can be going on when meeting with stakeholder interviewers, and particularly when meeting with outsiders to the hiring manager’s own team. And the hiring manager can be under as intense a level of scrutiny themselves, as any candidate who is brought in.

How can you tell if one or more of the outside stakeholders who a hiring manager has you meet with, have been imposed upon them for inclusion there, from higher up on the table of organization? One obvious giveaway on that is if the hiring manager’s own boss there insists on meeting with you and the other top candidates. I have faced that situation a number of times in my own career, and both when going in-house to work with a business and when taking on what would at least start out as a more open-ended consulting assignment there. And in all such cases, and I am thinking of two in particular as I write this, it was clear that these more senior interviewers were the people actually in charge there, and that they would have the final deciding voice in those hiring decisions.

• As a general rule, and I am directing this to the hiring manager side of these conversations: they should always listen to what their involved and included stakeholder interviewers have to say: all of them. That can be important in validating more expected conclusions that they themselves have reached too. But the fresh sets of eyes and the insight that experienced outsiders can offer in this type of setting can be valuable, and even a lot more so if it includes the unexpected too and certainly when that sheds new light on a candidate and how appropriate they would be as a potential new hire. The point there is that this hiring manager should be able to present any such findings to their own boss and supervisor there, in ways that are as fact-based and logically grounded and inclusive of all such input received as possible, grounding these interview findings in what was actually said in these stakeholders’ interviews with these candidates and with an awareness of what might have been skirted or evaded in what these candidates said too.
• And as a general rule, and I am directing this to the interviewee, job candidate side of these conversations: always assume that everything that you say, and everything that these interviewers say will enter into this hiring decision making process – including any attempt on your part to add a touch of humor into the conversation, which might or might not work.

And this brings me to Point 4 of the to-address topics list as repeated at the top of this installment. And I begin addressing that here by noting three points that can for all intent and purpose be treated in what will follow, as if essentially absolute truths:

• Anyone who is brought into this process as an involved stakeholder interviewer has had to find ways to push this added task into what was already a very, very busy work schedule and in the face of tight deadlines that they will still have to meet. Having to meet with job candidates will not qualify as a valid excuse for delays in delivering their expected results for their regular workload task requirements. And this holds for stakeholders who chose to be included and even actively so, as much as it does for those who are “requested” to participate.
• And everyone so involved as participants on the interviewer side of the table, is going to have specific reasons for having been included there. The candidate who is selected and hired will have an impact on what they do and on what they have to do and get completed. So they have reasons for wanting to be there and for wanting to be involved in this, and even if they have to get creative to find the time to do this too.
• Now, and given the dynamics of the first two of these bullet points, how can you as a job candidate better understand the underlying needs and priorities of the people who you meet with: the hiring manager and these stakeholder interviewers included? And focusing back on these stakeholder interviewers again, how can you find and develop a sense of shared alignment between what you offer and can do, and what they want and need, and in a way that would show that you are the candidate who they could most easily and comfortably work with in achieving that? How, in other words, can you make allies out of these people, for when they report back to the hiring manager who will make the final officially stated hiring decision here?

I am going to continue my discussion of this Point 4 in my next series installment. And then after that, I will discuss negotiations as to terms of employment, and with compensation and other factors definitely included in that, there assuming that the hiring manager you have met with has made a positive decision to bring you into the business as a new employee. Then, looking ahead, I will turn to consider the new hire probationary period.

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 I particularly recommend your at least briefly reviewing a specific job search best practices series that I developed here on the basis of both my own job search experience and from working with others going through that: Finding Your Best Practices Plan B When Your Job Search isn’t Working, as can be found at Page 1 of my above-noted Guide as its postings 56-72.

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 10 – the jobs and careers context 9

This is my 10th 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 1-9.)

I initially offered a to-address list of topics points at the end of Part 8, that variously address the issues of other stakeholders who a hiring manager would bring into the candidate selection and hiring process. And I repeat this list here, for smoother continuity of narrative as I continue addressing the issues that they raise:

1. Why would a hiring manager bring other stakeholders into what is essentially their hiring decision making step?
2. And closely aligned with that question: who would they bring into this process and what would these stakeholders discuss with a job candidate?
3. And how would their input and insight be used in making a hire-or-not decision?
4. And given these questions and their issues, how can you as a job candidate most effectively meet with, and communicate and negotiate with these people, each with their own reasons for being included here and each with their own goals and interests in this process, so as to help you to achieve your own desired goals out of this overall interviewing process?

See Part 9 for a discussion of Question 1, and a start to one regarding Question 2. And my goal for this posting is to complete my discussion of Question 2 and its possible answers, at least for purposes of this series, and then at least begin to delve into the issues raised by Question 3.

I wrote in Part 9 of within-team stakeholders: people who would be brought into this type of interviewing process as peers of whoever is hired for this position, who report to the same hiring manager and supervisor that this new hire would. And I wrote of outside stakeholders who a hiring manager has to effectively work with. These are in most cases, people who the hiring manager is in-effect working for at least for specific tasks or work processes, and on a service provider-to-client basis. Then I parsed the pool of possible stakeholders who might be brought into this in a second way. There, stakeholder interviewers might focus more on validating how well a potential new hire would fit in and how easily they could be worked with. Or alternatively, they might primarily focus on the issues of how effectively these candidates might be able to effectively contribute to the resolution of whatever goals-specific tasks or ongoing work processes that the hiring manager is to a significant degree responsible for getting done, that those stakeholder in effect own as their problems to be resolved.

I bring a third set of stakeholder selection criteria into this narrative here, when I add in the issues of office politics, and the need to be able to work with at least minimized social friction, with others in the business. This can mean more effectively meeting the needs and preferences of people higher up on the table of organization. But at least as importantly this can mean maintaining smoother and more mutually cooperative relationships with others in the business who might be at the same level of that table of organization as them, who this hiring manager would not want to displease by excluding their voice and opinion.

• Who does the hiring manager work for, and either in a chain of command, reporting and supervision manner, or through a service provider and client relationship?
• Who does the hiring manager depend on for service and support, and both for special task work or on an ongoing and more normative basis? There and in both cases, who is in a position to make life easier for this hiring manager, or create bottlenecks for them?

Most people who write of businesses and business processes and work flows, do so in terms of normative, expected and official processes and priorities and how they are arrived at and how they are met. In reality, politics always enters into all of this and a large part of office politics, at least as a more positive, is directed towards reducing friction and tension so work can get done and at what is at least ideally, the maximum level of comfort for all who enter into those political negotiations there. I set aside the issues of cliques and in-groups there, that by their very nature limit effective communication and collaborative cooperation across their boundaries, and simply note them here as an aside, that can also enter into who is and is not included as involved stakeholders in this, and I add in other business contexts as well.

I have written about idealized and realized business models with their systems of business processes and priorities, and how they arise and play out. For a most recent reference here for how I have done so, see Business planning from the back of a napkin to a formal and detailed presentation 24. Office politics can also lead to the types of divergences from the normally planned for and expected that I have been addressing there, and particularly when political considerations and their ongoing impact on the decision making processes in place, hold sway but as unacknowledged factors in that.

I add this final detail here to my response to Question 2, simply to indicate that the issues that I write of here in this posting can have implications and consequences that even the most savvy and aware, and thoughtful a job candidate would not be able to pick up upon and certainly in any actionably meaningful detail. So approach both possible future employers, and cutting ahead in my narrative here: current ones too for those hired, with an awareness that there is always more to learn and know about places of work. This applies to the dynamics at play that would govern decisions to bring specific stakeholders into a new hire interviewing process, and certainly when that means outsider stakeholders. But this only begins with that. Think of this concluding comment as an attempt to put the hiring process as a step in the jobs and careers pathway, into a fuller perspective. And with that noted, I turn to Question 3 of the above list, and consideration of how stakeholder interviewer input and insight are used in making a hire-or-not decision.

I am going to focus on that topics point in my next installment to this series, and begin that here by offering an orienting point of observation that I will build from moving forward.

• How the input and insight offered by these stakeholders would be used in making a hire-or-not decision, depends in large part, or even entirely for that matter, on the role that these colleagues play in that process as discussed in Part 9 and here, and the relationship that they have with the hiring manager who they would report their interview findings too. Their role and their acted-upon stake in this hiring decision process depends on what type of a stakeholder they are, from the hiring manager’s perspective and their overall relationship with them.

Then after completing my discussion of this topics point and the question that it is centered around, I will address Question 4 from the above list. And then I will proceed from there to discuss negotiations as to terms of employment, and with compensation and other factors definitely included in that, there assuming that the hiring manager you have met with has made a positive decision to bring you into the business as a new employee. Then, looking ahead, I will turn to consider the new hire probationary period.

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 I particularly recommend your at least briefly reviewing a specific job search best practices series that I developed here on the basis of both my own job search experience and from working with others going through that: Finding Your Best Practices Plan B When Your Job Search isn’t Working, as can be found at Page 1 of my above-noted Guide as its postings 56-72.

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 9 – the jobs and careers context 8

This is my 9th 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 1-8.)

I focused in large part in Part 8, on meeting with and interviewing with a hiring manager: the manager at a hiring business who most specifically owns the hiring process and the work position that you are applying to there, and who will hold the greatest stake in any hiring decision consequences faced as a presumably best candidate is selected and brought in. Then I began addressing the issues of other stakeholders who a hiring manager might bring into this process, who would also meet with the top candidates under consideration. And I offered four basic questions towards the end of that posting that address the Who and Why of these stakeholders as participants in this, that I repeat here and that I will (primarily) address in order:

1. Why would a hiring manager bring other stakeholders into what is essentially their hiring decision making step?
2. And closely aligned with that question: who would they bring into this process and what would these stakeholders discuss with a job candidate?
3. And how would their input and insight be used in making a hire-or-not decision?
4. And given these questions and their issues, how can you as a job candidate most effectively meet with, and communicate and negotiate with these people, each with their own reasons for being included here and each with their own goals and interests in this process, so as to help you to achieve your own desired goals out of this overall interviewing process?

Let me begin with the first of these questions, as stakeholder interviews open a very revealing window into both the job that you might be applying for, and its actual requirements and priorities – and certainly when they might differ from what is stated in the job description offered.

Hiring managers at a business have their own work responsibilities and their own assigned tasks and priorities, and their own challenges and issues. And one of the primary reasons why a manager would take on the responsibilities and the additional work requirements of onboarding and then managing a new member of their team: a new employee under their supervision who they are going to be held responsible for, is that this person would help them to resolve at least one of their more significant challenges faced: a challenge or responsibility that rises to a level of significance for them to make this extra effort and commitment on their part worthwhile to them, and in ways that could not be achieved by members of their team already in place, as it is. And this leads me directly to the question of those stakeholder interviews. And I begin addressing Question 1 of the above list by categorically dividing them into two at least overly distinct groups, that can functionally overlap as I will explain in what follows:

• Within-team stakeholders, and
• Outside stakeholders.

Hiring managers bring in members of their own teams that they supervise, to meet with and interview top job candidates for a variety of reasons. This includes reality check validation that this is someone who their current team members could communicate with and work with on a comfortable and efficient basis: and a reiteration of the “fit test.” And at least as importantly, this is where a hiring manager who might not have specific hands-on expertise themselves in what this new hire would do, can have them meet with the people who they would work with who might be as close to expert as anyone there in what these potential new hires would do there. At the very least, this would include team members who they would directly have to coordinate their work with, so their combined efforts would fit together. Even if a new hire would carry out tasks that no one currently there has any real hands-on experience with, can they communicate on technical and professional issues in a way that will work for others there, so their work can fit in and actually offer value in addressing larger, team tasks?

Outside stakeholder interviewers who are included here, and certainly as specific interviewer choices, are essentially always brought into this process because they play pivotal stakeholder roles in the problems and issues that this hiring manager is seeking to address and resolve through a new hire. Think of them as people who in effect own the tasks that this new hire would work on and contribute to, that their manager and their team members are supposed to successfully work on and resolve. And as team outsiders who are nevertheless significantly involved in what this new hire would do on the job, they are people who the hiring manager is obliged to satisfy, and usually in fulfilling that key one of their own managerial level tasks or goals responsibilities that they are hiring for.

I made note, above, of the possibility of functional overlap between within-team stakeholders and outside stakeholders, and clarify that here by noting that key “owner” stakeholders of the tasks or goals that a new hire would be brought in to address, can sometimes be found within a manager’s direct supervision team too, and certainly if they have a large and complexly organized team reporting to them.

• It is a crucially important task for a prospective new hire, to identify who the task and goals owning stakeholders are who they meet with, and who the primarily fit-validating ones are.
• And one of the most important objectives there in knowing and understanding that difference, is in learning as much as possible about the issues and challenges that have led to a decision to hire in the first place.

One of the most important points that I have raised in this blog over the years, regarding consulting, is that people and businesses that hire consultants often know more about what the symptoms are, than they do about the actual underlying problems that cause them. What would you actually be hired to do, and at as much of an underlying-problem level of understanding as possible? And would you be offered the resources and opportunity needed to go beyond symptoms to address those underlying problems? Note: even when a job description and all ensuing interviews focus on symptoms to be addressed, and here-and-now, resolve for the moment issues, managers always hire with a goal of achieving longer-term results and underlying problem resolutions through their new hire.

And with this, I have addressed the above-stated Question 2, as well as Question 1 – or at least a significant measure of it. And at this point, I raise a pair of questions that I learned the importance of, the hard way in my own work life and career experience:

• Is the job that you are applying for and being interviewed for, one that this same hiring manager has unsuccessfully tried to get completed before and through earlier in-house staff or new hire attempts? And if so, how and how many times?

I write this thinking back to a consulting assignment that I took on and agreed to, just to find after I had started that the hiring manager who I met with was being pressured by his supervisor: a more senior executive, to complete a very complex overall set of coordinated tasks that he did not understand for what this required, and with time frame and other constraints that made this work impossible. So several others had been brought in to attempt this job and all had failed, and no one working under this more senior manager was willing to let on that any of this had happened in any interview meetings they participated in. They were all terrified of the boss’ boss.

• Know what you are getting into, and really listen to and speak with the people who you get to meet with: all of those directly involved stakeholders definitely included. And think in terms of reading between the lines in what they do and do not say, and in what they ask and how.
• Prior failed efforts such as the workplace example that I cite here, to achieve desired goals through bringing in new hires: in-house or as consultants, need not completely preclude you’re taking this type of job. But the more you know of what you face, and in general in a new job with its actual issues and challenges, the more effectively you can negotiate your terms for taking this work on, and with time-to-completion and performance benchmarks and resource access issues clearly spelled out. (I will come back to this point when discussing terms of employment negotiations, a little later in this series. I simply note this complex of issues here to put this posting’s interview phase of this overall process into a fuller and more useful context and perspective.)

This last comment can be seen as a foretaste of how I will address the above Question 4 when I more formally do so. I will offer come concluding thoughts regarding Questions 1 and 2 in my next series installment, and will then address Question 3, and then Question 4 as a whole to round out this phase of this overall narrative. And then I will proceed from there to discuss negotiations as to terms of employment, and with compensation and other factors definitely included in that, there assuming that the hiring manager you have met with has made a positive decision to bring you into the business as a new employee. Then, looking ahead, I will turn to consider the new hire probationary period.

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 I particularly recommend your at least briefly reviewing a specific job search best practices series that I developed here on the basis of both my own job search experience and from working with others going through that: Finding Your Best Practices Plan B When Your Job Search isn’t Working, as can be found at Page 1 of my above-noted Guide as its postings 56-72.

Some thoughts concerning a general theory of business 23: considering first steps toward developing a general theory of business 15

This is my 23rd installment to a series on general theories of business, and on what general theory means as a matter of underlying principle and in this specific context (see Reexamining the Fundamentals directory, Section VI for Parts 1-22.)

I have been discussing a series of what can perhaps best be considered exceptions scenarios, that would arise in the hiring process in a business, in this series since its Part 20, alternating between discussion of these specific business process issues, and more general theory of business considerations, that I have been exploring by way of these special case contexts. For smoother continuity of narrative, I repeat my four hiring scenario list, with a goal of addressing its third entry here:

1. More routine hire, hands-on non-managerial employees, and I add more routine and entry level and middle managers – versus – the most senior managers and executives when they are brought in, and certainly from the outside.
2. More routine positions, managerial or not – versus – special skills and experience new hires and employees, hands-on or managerial.
3. Job candidates and new hires and employees who reached out to the business, applying as discussed up to here in this narrative on their own initiative – versus – those who the business has reached out to, to at least attempt to bring them in-house as special hires and as special for all that would follow.
4. And to round out this list, I will add one more entry here, doing so by citing one specific and specifically freighted word: nepotism. Its more normative alternative should be obvious.

And I begin addressing Scenario 3 by pointing out the similarities that can arise, and the overlap that can occur between this and Scenario 2. Both involve a business coming to realize that it needs to hire one or more very rare, high demand special-case new employees, at whatever level they would work at on the table of organization. This makes these hiring processes, seller’s market oriented with advantage held by any who can convincingly present themselves as fulfilling the wish list requirements of the hiring business. Both involve situations where more possible employers, quite arguably would wish to hire these types of people than there are actual job candidates – and certainly ones who are looking or willing to look for new work opportunities elsewhere. But even with all of that held in common, these are two distinct and separate special exception hiring scenarios.

• First of all, a really proactive, entrepreneurial professional who has skills and experience that are coming into high demand and need, and at levels the market cannot meet, can reach out to hiring managers and potential hiring managers at businesses that they would like to work at, and basically make sales pitches directed towards starting a conversation. Their goal in that would be to discuss the possibilities of what they could offer, that would specifically bring benefit to that business and to the people there who they get to meet with.
• A business in question, and at least one of its hiring managers have to have thought all of this out first, for a Scenario 3 as offered above to apply; a potential job candidate and new hire can reach out to inform and to provoke that type of thinking process, making an initial effort in order to explore their possibilities and see what they can develop. In Scenario 2, they can easily be the more proactive participants in this. In Scenario 3, it is the potential new hire catch, who would be reactive and the potentially hiring business that would be more proactive in setting this type of process in motion.
• And to cite one other at least potentially significantly differentiating detail here, Scenario 2 tends to apply more for finding and securing special here-and-now hires, and with a goal of keeping the business cutting edge and competitive from that in some rapidly changing, generally technical functional area. What is hot enough in the jobs market to qualify for Scenario 2’s preferential treatment today, is probably going to cool down enough and in a relatively short period of time, to fit more smoothly and realistically into that company’s routine candidate selection and new hire processes and procedures, and from the early job description preparation and initial candidate screening and filtering process onward. And this can happen very quickly, making Scenario 2 into more of a narrow window of opportunity phenomenon.
• Scenario 3 candidates on the other hand, and the people that a business would want to convince to become candidates, might fit that pattern. But this scenario is also were businesses reach out to special possible hires who would offer long-term defining value too, such as marketing or sales professionals with a well established golden touch track record, or senior executives who have proven track records of stellar excellence as visionary leaders and managers. I write here of having more persistent soft skills excellences, versus simply having a more state-of-the-art based, ephemeral technical skills edge.

With that offered as a starting point for discussing what Scenario 3 actually is, let’s consider it and I add reconsider Scenario 2 again, from a game theory perspective. And I begin addressing that, by picking up on the last sentence of the immediately preceding bullet point description, and the basic message that I seek to convey through it, and with timing considerations.

• Any specifically short-term, time limited Scenario 2 advantage that a prospective job candidate might hold in a hiring process there, would of necessity significantly shape the strategy that they would pursue, and I add that the hiring business would pursue too, when meeting and negotiating with them. This biases all that would transpire on both sides of the hiring negotiations table there, and in terms of short timeframes and in terms of strategic and game strategy considerations that would support them.
• But a Scenario 2 candidate who is hired, is in most cases going to want to continue on at that job for longer than just the perhaps brief span in which their special skills that brought them there, still retain their special edge. I am not suggesting that they would want to finish their overall career paths with this employer: only that they would want to have a say in how long they remain there, and on what they can develop and take with them from that experience, as and when they do move on. This gives them positive incentive to think and plan in terms of longer-term career strategy too, and according to a game theory approach that would promote and advance their interests along that timeframe too. And this might in fact be at odds with a strictly short-term interest and short-term planning strategy and game theory approach that they might take if only thinking in terms of getting hired in the first place.
• And a Scenario 2 hiring business, would see compelling need to pursue an at least short-term compatible hiring strategy and game theory approach at first and when negotiating to bring in such a new hire. But as an ongoing organization, they would also have to consider and take on a dual approach there too, building from day one in the hiring process for longer term viability in any hiring agreements reached.

And with this, I raise the issues of dual and competing strategies and their game theory implementations, and the need to reconcile and coordinate between them, to find what for a participant would be their best, more timeframe-independent path forward. I will continue this discussion of Scenario 3 (and of Scenario 2 as well) in my next series installment, and will then move on to Scenario 4, which I offer here in this series as one of several potentially toxic hiring scenarios. And after completing that line of discussion, at least for purposes of this series, I will step back from consideration of general theories of business as a special categorical case, to delve into a set of what have become essential foundation elements for that discussion, with further consideration of general theories per se. And looking ahead, I will then turn back to the more specific context of theories of business again, where I will begin using this newly added, more-general foundational material in its more specific context. My goal there is to follow the discussion of business hiring processes and their exceptions that I have been pursuing up to here, with one that focuses on the new hire probationary period and its dynamics. And I will use that as a source of special case examples, in order to develop and present more general theory of business considerations.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related material about what I am attempting to do here at About this Blog and at Blogs and Marketing. And I include this series in my Reexamining the Fundamentals directory, as topics section VI there, where I offer related material regarding theory-based systems. And I also include this individual participant oriented subseries of this overall theory of business series in Page 3 of my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, as a sequence of supplemental postings there.

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 8 – the jobs and careers context 7

This is my 8th 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 1-7.)

I have been systematically discussing a job search campaign and its progression of steps in this series, beginning with the preliminary stages of determining what you would most want to do next professionally, and where you would most likely find opportunity for achieving that. And I have more recently been focusing in that, on applying to specific positions with specific businesses that you would see as your top choice possibilities for meeting your goals, preferences and needs. I have, to be more specific there, been addressing top-choice job search campaign steps here since Part 4 of this series, leading up to Part 7 where I assume that you have made it through an initial largely automated preliminary screening process and you have met with a first round human screener, from Human Resources and at least as a phone interview.

I discussed how Human Resource interviewers are tasked with the job of weeding out inappropriate candidates, so the hiring managers they work with can focus on interviewing and considering a smaller number of best possible candidates, and in a manner that would fit effectively into their already busy schedules. And I discussed how these more personnel-oriented professionals pre-screen for their hiring managers by evaluating possible candidates for interpersonal skills and fit and for how readily they could be worked with: evaluating them for their basic compatibility for working at that business per se. This means personality fit and communications skills: listening skills definitely included, and more. And as I noted in Part 7, these are all very important considerations. No one wants to face Monday mornings and full work weeks ahead when that means their having to endure yet another week of having to work with some impossibly difficult coworker. The corporate culture fit, interpersonal skills fit and communications skills issues that I raised in Part 7 and that I have returned to here in this discussion are crucial, and both for finding the right people to hire and for maintaining a happy and productive workplace. And if these criteria are not met when selecting and bringing in a new hire, that challenge can overwhelm any value that a now hired colleague might be able to offer from their having the more technical skills that they would need in their work too.

I also at least began addressing the next step in this process in Part 7, that follows this initial HR level screening: meeting with the hiring manager themselves. And I focused there, on how important overall fit issues are as hiring criteria for them too as they make their hiring decisions. Hiring managers decide on who to hire, in large part on the basis of the technical and hands-on professional skills that the job candidates who they meet with, have. But first and foremost, these managers need and want to bring in people who will listen to them and who will follow their lead, and who can and will work effectively and smoothly with others on their team and not create friction or discord in the process. They want people there who will take directions, and at least constructive criticism too, if needed. And they want people who can work well under pressure, and who can be supportive of others and even when everyone is working to meet tight deadlines or facing other challenges. They want and need people on their team who can effectively contribute to larger overall collaborative efforts.

• Think of this as a search for a best possible new hire, where that means their being able to use their more technical skills in ways that constructively, supportively fit into larger efforts, and certainly when explicitly working with others: their direct manager and supervisor included, as well as team member peers, outside stakeholders and others as needed.

This is a series on communications and negotiating skills, and not on the more technical side of what people would do on the job, if and when hired. And I have to add in that context that it is rare for a hiring manager to explicitly test the technical skills of the candidates who make it this far in this type of process. I remember being tested on my object oriented computer programming skills once, by a programming team leader at that company who was brought in by the hiring manager as a key stakeholder in their hiring process for that position. But that was a real exception in my experience, and rare in general from what I have learned from the experience of others. Most hiring managers, and certainly by this step in an overall hiring process, are focused on finding people who they can work with, and succeed with while doing so. (As a somewhat ironic aside, I have to add that I was not actually applying for a computer programmer position in the exceptions example that I just cited; I was applying for a job opportunity where I would be working with programmers, and where I would need to know and understand their products and services. But I would mostly find myself applying my soft skills in managing and coordinating others, and in working with outside stakeholders: clients definitely included. And then that turned into my real job application exception where I was very explicitly tested for my hands-on technical skills that I would not actually use on the job, and as a make or break evaluation criterion!)

Let’s step back from that point and from the issues of technical versus soft skills in the hiring process, to consider interviews with hiring managers in general.

• Managers (generally) assume for the most part that any applicant who makes it far enough along in this hiring process to meet with them directly, has sufficient skills and experience in what they would do there, to satisfy those hiring criteria.
• Beyond that and setting aside possible soft skills failures and deal breakers on the part of the job applicant, these interviews are all about establishing buy-in, and in both directions. Hiring managers seek to convince the people who they see as their best candidates, to want to work with them. And genuinely top candidates, and certainly those who have a choice in who they would work with next, seek out job offers and terms of employment that would best meet their needs too.
• This means the basic dynamics of the filtering and selection process change, where up to here and certainly up to a point where a hiring manager is facing their top preferred candidates, the goal in this from the business side is to filter out the unacceptable and inappropriate. That begins with the automated culling process that seeks to weed out and discard what can literally be thousands of essentially spam, generic resumes for every single position opening offered. And it continues through the first round with a human interviewer there, in a Human Resources interview. That all ends with the hiring manager and certainly as they begin to focus in on their top choice candidate or two.

Interviews are flawed and limited processes that are stilted and both by the pressures that surround them and by their limitations in scope and duration. An interview in and of itself can only hint, and in many key respects and for many key considerations, at how a new hire would actually perform once there and on the job. And they can only hint at what it would actually be like to have them work there, day to day. And this cuts both ways, where the candidates so interviewed can and often do leave these interviews with significant open questions too. So effective interviewing skills and from both sides of these conversations, are very important in all of this, and yes from both the hiring manager’s and the candidate’s sides of the table.

I have been focusing entirely on meeting with hiring managers here, and note at this point in this narrative that I have addressed this step in the hiring process in prior anticipatory notes, in terms of meeting with hiring managers, and with other stakeholders who they would bring into this process too. So I am going to finish this posting by offering three orienting questions that relate to outside stakeholders who a candidate would meet with, and who they are and how and why they would enter into this process:

• Why would a hiring manager bring other stakeholders into what is essentially their hiring decision making step?
• And closely aligned with that question: who would they bring into this process and what would they discuss with a job candidate?
• And how would their input and insight be used in making a hire-or-not decision?

And to add in one more critically important question to that list:

• How can you as a job candidate most effectively meet with, and communicate and negotiate with these people, each with their own reasons for being included here and each with their own goals and interests in this process, so as to help you to achieve your desired goals out of this overall interviewing process?

In anticipation of discussion to come, and focusing for the moment on the last of those questions, I repeat a key point that I made when discussing interviews with Human Resources screeners. One of your key goals in this is to make these people your allies. Help them become positive contributors to you’re reaching your goals. And do so by convincing them that you understand and value their issues and that you’re being hired can be part of the solution for them, and certainly for the specific issues that they face that brought them to meet with you this way.

I am going to address those now four questions in the above order, at least starting in my next series installment. Then, after at least offering preliminary responses to them, I will explicitly turn to consider the next step in all of this, that immediately follows and certainly if those stakeholders voice approval to hire and the hiring manger agrees with them: conversations and negotiations as to terms of employment, with compensation and other factors definitely included. Then, looking ahead, I will turn to consider the new hire probationary period.

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 I particularly recommend your at least briefly reviewing a specific job search best practices series that I developed here on the basis of both my own job search experience and from working with others going through that: Finding Your Best Practices Plan B When Your Job Search isn’t Working, as can be found at Page 1 of my above-noted Guide as its postings 56-72.

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 7 – the jobs and careers context 6

This is my 7th 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 1-6.)

I began to focus upon the issues of applying to specific first-choice and best-for-you possible new job opportunities in Part 4 of this series, and continued that narrative line through Part 5 and Part 6 as well.

That progression of three closely linked installments discussed and analyzed the first initial screening phase of this type of job search process, and it carried that discussion through to a point where you as a job candidate, have successfully made it through a first round, increasing automated initial screening and filtering process that is designed to weed out inappropriate and irrelevant applicants wholesale. Once selected there for further consideration, your application has been added to a much smaller applicant pool of at least seemingly viable candidates as drawn from the initial flood of applications received. Now, and as a candidate that has made that initial cut, you would be reviewed and considered by human agents: first by Human Resource screeners and certainly for larger organizations, and then directly by a hiring manager and whatever other stakeholders and de facto gatekeepers who they would personally seek to bring into this process too.

My goal here is to at least begin to discuss and analyze the first human reviewer and gatekeeper step in this progression that you would face. And to more fully consider the possible complexities here, I presume that this phase in a business’ job candidate search does in fact begin with Human Resources and their due diligence processes, and with your having to successfully navigate that part of this overall process.

I begin this by stating your basic goal here and for successfully passing this hurdle. Long-term and overall, your goal might be to land a new job and under terms that would at least ideally best meet your needs going forward, and in ways that would explicitly help you to promote your own career. But for here and now, this is all about you’re being selected as a top candidate who would get to meet with the hiring manager who “owns” this job candidate search.

Let’s start addressing all of that with the basics, as to what you are facing right now:

• The primary goal of the more preliminary screening that leads up to your first encounter with a representative of Human Resources, is to cull out and eliminate from consideration as many presumed inappropriate job applicants as possible, reducing the flood of online and largely generic and spam applications to a more reasonable and manageable few that are deemed appropriate and relevant. I have already discussed that in the immediately preceding installments to this one.
• But passing that hurdle and making that first round cut does not change the basic candidate filtering goal that you face. It simply means that this is being carried out by people now and directly so. The first HR professional who you come in contact with, and through an in-person or phone interview is going to be a lower level member of their team who you have to assume does not know anything about the type of work that you do – unless you happen to be applying for a job with Human Resources. And they are tasked with the job of screening for possible candidates on the basis of company fit – not specific job fit, as fit and I add compatibility are organizationally defined there.

This means you’re needing good communications skills and with listening skills holding paramount importance in that. This means you’re having and displaying good negotiating skills, and with a goal of in effect making this screener into an ally. And that means you’re striving to demonstrate and from what you say and how you say it: your questions included, that you would fit in and be easy to work with.

When you meet with a hiring manager, your primary goal might be to demonstrate your more technical skills and experience strengths, and both from the questions that you ask and the insight those questions might demonstrate, and from how you answer questions asked of you. And when you meet with other stakeholders who the hiring manager would have you meet too, your goal might be one of showing how you would apply your skills and experience at this new job, and in ways that would help them and make their work and their lives at work easier. This, of course means you’re showing your interpersonal skills as well as your more technical ones too, of course. But while an interview with a member of Human Resources might include your answering some task and work-specific questions, the primary reason they would ask these is still one of establishing overall fit.

• How clearly and concisely can your discuss relevant issues from what you do professionally, with others who you are working with but who do not have your particular skills or expertise?
• Can you limit the jargon and discuss the core issues of relevance and interest to the people who you work with, and in ways that they will understand and that will help them – and help you as you work together with them?
• How effectively can you contribute to an overall effort through the questions that you ask, that would help you to keep your contributions focused on what is needed, and beneficial to an overall goals-driven team effort? Do you ask good, clarifying questions and follow up on what you are told in response to them?
• How patient can you be, for that matter when working with others?

And this brings me to the issues of the corporate culture in place there, and how well you know and understand it, and how effectively and quickly you can pick up on the nuances of what you are hearing, so you can mirror back more effectively to sound compatible for working there.

This is very important, and it is a place where a candidate who makes it through the initial automated screening round can get into real trouble and without even realizing that – until that is, they stop hearing from this business, which is common if a candidate does not make this first human-screening cut – or if they get a form letter thanking them for their application and notifying them that their resume would be held for future job opening consideration.

I would cite an interviewing story from my own direct experience here, to take this posting and its narrative out of the abstract, and it is one that I have cited before, for the lessons it offers. And in this, I was not interviewing the job candidate I have in mind here, from a primarily good fit for working here perspective, as initial HR job candidate screeners usually focus on. I was interviewing them from more of a hiring manager perspective and with more of a focus on what they would do professionally if hired and how well they would do that. But readily apparent company and corporate culture fit, and more importantly for me, team fit issues killed their application and eliminated them from consideration.

I had three at least preliminarily top candidates, and certainly judging from their resumes and cover letters as they outlined their professional skills and experience, and judging from what their references had said of them in brief phone conversations. Two of them appeared to have acceptable skills sets and levels of on the job experience using them, and the third had what looked to be a stellar skills and experience set. But when I talked with them, and heard what they had to say, and saw when and how they asked questions, I quickly realized that the two acceptable skills set candidates were open and personable and that they listened. I quickly realized that they would be easy and comfortable to work with. But the stellar skills set candidate did not fit that pattern at all. It pretty quickly became overtly apparent that they would be miserable to work with. Their technical skills were great, but they came across as arrogant and they did not ask good questions or really listen all that effectively to others either. They were certain that they knew more than anyone else in any room that they were in and always, and they simply did not fit in at all. And everyone who met with them as a stakeholder who they would have to be able to work with there, ended up feeling the same way.

We ended up selecting one of the other two and moved on – and never even considered the possibility of hiring this stellar candidate for anything else there.

I offer two lessons from that experience, noting that that decision reached was not all that unusual from the perspective of what other hiring managers and their businesses would arrive at if faced with this type of situation:

• When a first cut human screener from HR focuses on fit and related issues in their evaluation and review processes, they are in fact screening according to what can be very important criteria, and certainly for anyone already working there who would have to be able to work with the new hire selected out of this hiring process.
• And even if a candidate passes this hurdle and is passed on to the hiring manager for this position, the issues raised there remain important for them too.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment where I will start out assuming that you as a job hire candidate have been approved by this HR screener, and that you are now one of the perhaps half a dozen or so candidates who have been passed on to the hiring manager for review and consideration. 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 I particularly recommend your at least briefly reviewing a specific job search best practices series that I developed here on the basis of both my own job search experience and from working with others going through that: Finding Your Best Practices Plan B When Your Job Search isn’t Working, as can be found at Page 1 of my above-noted Guide as its postings 56-72.

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 6 – the jobs and careers context 5

This is my 6th 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 1-5.)

I wrote Part 2 and Part 3 of this series with a focus on the earliest stages of a job search and particularly for those who have not carried out that type of exercise for a long time, who see need for more fundamental change in what type of work they would do and even in their overall career path, or both. And I offered Part 4 and Part 5 with a goal of bringing the next step of an overall job search campaign process into this narrative. And in that, I focused on background and preparation issues that enter into consideration when getting ready to reach out to, and apply for a specific position with a top choice for you, hiring company.

To be more specific there, I wrote in Part 5 “that you have a fairly solid idea as to what you would see as an ideal next job for you, and with a business that would be a best fit for you. And I assume that you have updated and refined the job search marketing tools that you would need for this: with your resume and other written documents, and with your interviewing and other skills as they could most effectively be used for these jobs in presenting your case. And that brings me to this posting, which I begin with a challenge of sorts.” And I then went on to question this set of assumptions, and with a goal of helping you to refine how you would fulfill them from that.

My goal here, at least to start is to re-challenge that starting set of assumptions but from a second direction, in order to address changes in how businesses select, consider and hire job candidates. More specifically, and in contrast to a number of series that I have been offering here that touch upon the issues of automated algorithm-driven information processing and filtering, and artificial intelligence-driven agents: I have been writing in this series in terms of human readers and human decision makers only. I will move beyond that presumption here.

I began posting to my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development in this blog in October 2009. And one of the first issues that I addressed in that, and certainly with regard to reaching out to a possible employer, and to submitting a resume and application to them in an attempt to secure a new job, was how businesses have actively sought to automate their first round candidate screening. Why? Their underlying rationale for pursuing that type of course has not changed and for years now, as more and more, and by now essentially all businesses that allow candidates to send in resumes online, have been inundated with floods of generic submissions that can best be considered spam resumes and spam applications. I briefly made note in Part 5 of a job candidate’s need to prove their genuineness, and that they are not simply a “to whom this may concern” generic submission as would be sent to any possible receiving email address or web site form, as set up by any business that happens to have a job opening.

How does this challenge fit into this series, with its focus on more effective communications and negotiating skills and their use? My answer is very simple. Anyone who would at least initially approach a prospective employer, looking to hire new people into their overall team, has to be able to craft a message that can simultaneously meet the screening needs of a mindless automated filtering system, and still work in creating interest in a real person, when and if their resume and cover letter make it through that first automated gatekeeper round.

I began writing about this set of challenges in terms of what might be called a version 1.0 context, where all of the pre-human viewing filtering is carried out by what amounts to simple key word searches. All resumes and cover letters received, under this system are date and time stamped and coded to identify job candidate source, so anything coming from that applicant can be included in a same single record. And all of this documentation and from all such sources, once tagged this way, is uploaded into a large data base. Then this pool of accumulated document files is data mined, and filtered for relevance to the particular job description that a business is hiring for, using SQL queries that would seek out submitted documents that include at least a threshold level of specific sought after key words in them, and with the sought-for list of those key words prioritized and weighted for their value according to how important their relevant inclusion would be for a hiring manager who set up this job candidate search.

This is a technical solution for what is framed as a strictly technical problem, so it should not be too surprising that it works best, to the extent that it does work, in more technical fields and for more routine positions, where for example a hiring manager might need a new hire who knows some specific computer programming language, or some particular content editing tool, or who has worked in some specific industry, or perhaps (ideally) with some specific business there. It breaks down a great deal when new hires would be needed for positions that are less easily captured, and even just in rough cartoon form by some specific set of background indicating key words or phrases. And that brings me to a version 2.0 to this still rapidly evolving saga, that is only just beginning to be developed and deployed: the use of single task oriented artificial intelligence-driven agents for carrying out this initial screening, designed to go beyond simply key word filtering searches in selecting a fraction of all submissions that might merit further, more directly human consideration.

This, I add is where neural network-based hardware and self-learning AI software systems, grounded in a database expert system foundation of how human experts have selected out viable and best candidates, will really take off. And that is where the challenge that I write of here will become both more interesting, and a lot more complex, and certainly for job applicants.

Automated key word filtering as a first round mechanism for culling out the generic spam, has primarily meant that a real candidate, specifically applying to some particular position with a specific hiring company, has to be careful to use the same type of wording that they use in their posted job description and when discussing this area of their business on their web site, and certainly for the key skills and experience words used there. At the risk of misusing a term or two here, the emergence of candidate culling and filtering version 2.0 will mean a real candidate having to navigate their way through the filtering and selection processes and priorities of two types of at least loosely algorithmically prescribed thought processes: one relatively rigidly algorithmically defined and the other much less so, but with its own biases, preferences and preconceptions (as set by overall company hiring policy and practice, and by the personal biases and assumptions of the hiring manager.)

How would I propose navigating this more complex and nuanced path going forward? I can only offer a partial and even tentative response to that question here, with the still embryonic stage of version 2.0 candidate pre-filtering and culling in mind, that we are coming to face. Focus on improving how you would respond to a more advanced version 1.0 system but with additional care made to avoid colloquialisms, or vagueness of expression. This means being as clear as possible and it means avoiding ambiguity of possible interpretation in what you do offer in your submitted documents, that you will be judged and selected-in, or filtered out by. Beyond that, I at least categorically make note of a possible and even likely source of trade-offs that will have to be addressed. From the version 2.0 automated screening perspective that your submission will have to successfully pass through first, effectively mirroring the phrasing of the job description and related business-sourced content that you are responding to, will probably offer positive value to you. But too much mirroring of this type, might very well trap you when your resume, cover letter and any related documents are passed on to a next step human review – and certainly if an excess there does not red flag your submission as the product of a robo-applicant, or similarly fraudulent applicant before any human can get to see it. And even if you’re perhaps too-close-a-match application documents do not get caught up in that type of problem, you will still need to show that you can and do think through the issues that you are presenting yourself, and that you are not just parroting back what you see the hiring business as wanting. So you have to mirror back what the company wants, in their type of wording, but selectively and with a view towards your best understanding of their hiring priorities and needs. This, among other things means that a switch from a version 1.0 here and now to a version 2.0 as it more fully arises, will increase the pressure on you to more thoroughly research and understand the businesses that you apply for work with. I offer this as a briefly stated preliminary and even anticipatory note for what I am certain is to come and soon.

With that offered, think through what version 2.0 will be like for this, and certainly as far as the current state of artificial intelligence per se is concerned. And consider the implications of businesses pursuing this type of shift in the basic job candidate selection process followed by them, and the limitations that are sure to arise in that, and throughout any more immediately foreseeable future. In that, consider the sometimes extreme lack of apparent judgment and understanding that still comes through from even the best, most advanced automated agents coming from sources such as Google, Microsoft and other leaders in the development of consumer-facing AI agents, with their Siri, Alexa and so on. Now consider the implications and complications of having one of those agents carrying out a candidate screening and filtering, and first round job candidate culling function for an employer that happens to get way too many applications to be able to deal with them without resorting to automation. Anyone who has ever struggled to convey what would seem to be a simple request or command to those AI agents, knows how limiting and frustrating that can become. And the version 2.0 candidate selection AI agents that I write of here are certain to go through a protracted, similarly “awkward” development period too.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment where I will assume that your submission has made the initial automated cut and that you are now going to face human gatekeepers, perhaps starting with a member of Human Resources, but with that process leading towards your meeting with a hiring manager. And I will begin to more fully and directly consider negotiating and the skills that go into that, there.

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 I particularly recommend your at least briefly reviewing a specific job search best practices series that I developed here on the basis of both my own job search experience and from working with others going through that: Finding Your Best Practices Plan B When Your Job Search isn’t Working, as can be found at Page 1 of my above-noted Guide as its postings 56-72.

Some thoughts concerning a general theory of business 22: considering first steps toward developing a general theory of business 14

This is my 22nd installment to a series on general theories of business, and on what general theory means as a matter of underlying principle and in this specific context (see Reexamining the Fundamentals directory, Section VI for Parts 1-21.)

I began addressing a set of four example scenarios as to how someone might be hired into a business, outside of the more standard framework of processes and understandings that Human Resources would develop and follow as its routine business practice, in Part 20 of this series, which I repeat here for smoother continuity of narrative:

1. More routine hire, hands-on non-managerial employees, and I add more routine and entry level and middle managers – versus – the most senior managers and executives when they are brought in, and certainly from the outside.
2. More routine positions, managerial or not – versus – special skills and experience new hires and employees, hands-on or managerial.
3. Job candidates and new hires and employees who reached out to the business, applying as discussed up to here in this narrative on their own initiative – versus – those who the business has reached out to, to at least attempt to bring them in-house as special hires and as special for all that would follow.
4. And to round out this list, I will add one more entry here, doing so by citing one specific and specifically freighted word: nepotism. Its more normative alternative should be obvious.

And I have addressed the first of these more novel-case scenarios, at least for purposes of this narrative, since then with that line of discussion leading me to the above repeated hiring Scenario 2. My goal for this posting is to address that. And as done in my now completed discussion of Scenario 1, I do so in the context of alternating between the specifics of the scenario at hand, and more general theory of business considerations.

Focusing here on the more general line of discussion pursued in this series up to here, I analytically characterized trust as it enters into the types of decision making processes that arise in situations such as the above four scenarios in Part 21, splitting off three categorical varieties of it that differ from each other for the most part, according to how fully and directly a process or transaction participant can know, of what they would need to know, in order to make a best-for-them, or a best for their business decision.

My goal here is to delve into at least some of the more general issues that arise when discussing Scenario 2, and use that specific business circumstance as a means for further developing my more general business theory narrative, taking an explicitly game theory approach to that here. Think of my Part 21 discussion of trust and its information based foundations, as a foundational element to that, and for what is to come here.

First, let’s consider Scenario 2 itself. And I begin by noting that this arises when a business seeks to address a specific strategically significant challenge by finding and securing the hire of one or more specific individuals, who are at least relatively uniquely capable of addressing this new or emerging need. This type of scenario is most likely to arise in the context of addressing new or expanding gaps that have been found in the skills and capabilities sets that a business can apply towards fulfilling its core business goals, at least from its current staff and management. This means making its core capabilities more effective, that directly generate its incoming revenue streams and its profitability. But this can also arise if specific individuals can be found who for their special skills and experience, could make a necessary cost center, more competitively cost-effective too, freeing up resources for more profits-center use. Either way, a Scenario 2 situation as outlined above would arise when a business has to find and bring in specialized and difficult to find and secure new hires, with an overall goal of becoming or remaining as competitively effective as possible from that.

And in either case, this means finding and securing specific people:

• Where more generically available, routinely effective job candidates would not be able to offer the types of new value required in a hire here,
• And where wider candidate selective choice considerations, and the compensation benchmarking that such hiring patterns would provide, could not be used to help define or limit what the business would have to offer in overall compensation here.
• Together the above two points throw away the possibility of meaningful, standardized marketplace norms for hiring or for compensation offered for these Scenario 2 candidates, increasing the bargaining power of the most desired job candidates here, relative to that held by a hiring business.

And as soon as the managers directly involved in these hiring decisions begin to realize that their more routine personnel policies for managing compensation levels cannot apply here, due to uniqueness of circumstance and scale of need, this second scenario becomes inevitable in one form or other.

And with my earlier discussion of Scenario 1 as noted above, and this discussion of Scenario 2 noted, I turn back to the issues of trust and how it can take different forms, depending on the availability of necessary information. And I move forward to at least begin to reframe this in more explicitly game theory terms.

I have written in this blog on several occasions, about win-win and win-lose scenarios. And as part of that, I have noted that win-lose can come to predominate as an approach taken, as a consequence of at least one of several possible factors applying to the contexts in which these games play out, as perceived and understood by the participants involved. And I begin this phase of this narrative by at least briefly and selectively listing a few of those possible strategy triggers here, that I will then explicitly consider, and certainly for Scenarios 1 and 2.

Win-lose strategies are defensive in nature, and arise when, among other possibilities:

A. One or more participants in a business transactions system see the overall pool of rewards available from participating in it, as smaller than the overall pool of value that those participants would collectively have to pay in to it, in order to participate and with a chance of gaining some share of those rewards. This is the “pie to be divided is too small” scenario, where win-lose arises as participants seek to secure what they see as their fair share (or more) and even at the expense of others not even coming close to that.
B. One or more of those participants see that while they might be in effect paid back, if with a delay if they play cooperatively, it is uncertain, or even unlikely that the business transaction system game that they are in will be sustainable long enough for that to happen. This is the “cut your losses and play for as quick a return on investment as possible and regardless of impact upon others” scenario.
C. And with my discussion of trust in its varying forms, as outlined in Part 21, I add in business systems friction and the types of communications and information availability challenges that engenders it. The more incomplete and unreliable the timely availability of necessary information when choosing and pursuing a game strategy as a strategic option here, the more attractive and the more specifically risk reducing a win-lose strategy can appear to become. Limitations in information availability for quality and/or timeliness, and the friction that creates and drives that, degrades types and levels of trust that can be sustained, and that degrades any possible cooperation and any possible win-win alternative.

And to add one more detail to this brief narrative on why people would be drawn towards pursuing a win-lose, or zero-sum strategy, I stress that the strongest driver of all that would drive participants towards pursuing win-lose strategies (at briefly touched upon above, in a Rationale A context) is a sense of inequality and of not being offered a fair chance at receiving compensation in proportion to value and commitment invested. That point of observation, in fact underlies all that I have said here regarding win-lose and its root causes. With that noted, let’s reconsider first Scenario 1 as repeated above, and then Scenario 2 with this general business theory note in mind.

Employees at businesses do not in general see themselves as directly competing with the owners of those businesses or with their more senior executives, and certainly in big business and corporate contexts. This means Rationale A of the above list is unlikely to apply with much force for Scenario 1, unless employees as a whole come to see the leadership of the business that they work for as in effect, looting them of their fair due from how they loot the business as a whole, denying for example adequate cost of living wage increases to their employees while claiming the business cannot afford them, while significantly increasing their own paychecks or other direct personal benefits out of the resulting “savings.”

But employees who see their work as being important to their employing business, and who take pride in doing their work very well, do not necessarily see this same type of categorical separation as noted in the above paragraph, as existing between themselves and others who at least nominally work at the same general levels as them on the table of organization, simply because those employees, or at least some of them happen to know and use some currently “must have” new set of technical skills that they themselves do not need or use, such as knowledge of some new specialized computer language or tool set. The Phrase “as understood and accepted by …” as a contextual qualifier, becomes crucially important here (with this paragraph addressing Rationale A and Scenario 2, as both are offered above.)

I mentioned three rationales in my above list, as to why people working at a business or with an organization might come to pursue a more win-lose, zero-sum personal strategy there. Then I focused on the first of them: the limited pie that cannot suffice to fully meet all participants’ reasonable claims. It is possible for two or more of the types of sample rationales touched upon in that list, to co-occur, and I add that different participants and participant groups can in fact see and be driven by different ones, even if all involved basically follow the same general strategy at least most of the time (e.g. win-win, or in this case win-lose.) But that makes any analysis of the type I am offering here, more complex. And this type of complexity, of necessity means all involved face at least significant levels of Rationale C from my above list of them: friction stemming from faulty and incomplete information as to why others make the decisions that they do, that would be needed for making their own decisions more effectively.

I am going to complete this line of discussion in my next series installment, and will then turn to Scenarios 3 and 4 to complete this phase of this series and its overall discussion. Then I will step back from general theories of business as a special categorical case, and delve into a set of what have become essential foundation elements for that with further consideration of general theories per se. And looking ahead, I will then turn back to the more specific context of theories of business again, where I will begin using this newly added, more-general foundational material in its more specific context.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related material about what I am attempting to do here at About this Blog and at Blogs and Marketing. And I include this series in my Reexamining the Fundamentals directory, as topics section VI there, where I offer related material regarding theory-based systems. And I also include this individual participant oriented subseries of this overall theory of business series in Page 3 of my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, as a sequence of supplemental postings there.

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