Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's your career - come up with a plan!

This morning I talked to a client who has been asked to take on additional responsibilities in a fairly complex work environment. She is accountable at some level to three different executives within the organization. She asked for advice on setting expectations and negotiating resource and compensation agreements with the various parties.

We focused on her responsibility for taking charge of her career. Since the three executives had different interests, it didn't make sense to start by asking them what they wanted. She had to outline her goals and vision for the new initiative she had been asked to lead. What did she want to accomplish? What resources were needed? We also agreed that trying to come up with a perfect plan was not productive. A "B+" plan followed up with "A+" execution is always better than the other way around. Once she had her thoughts worked out, she would present the proposed plan to the three executives.

To help the executives get to yes in endorsing her proposal, she would build on the status quo to the extent possible and provide for reviewing results and making any necessary adjustments at set intervals. This approach would lower the risks of going forward with the new program. This is the approach I have used in many situations, with good results. The benefits of asking for what you need to be successful are spelled out in this recent article.

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