A friend started a new senior job in the financial sector, she had been hired because of her FMCG experience and they were keen to inject the rigour and consumer focus of FMCG into the way they worked in marketing. Later it became clear that both their expectations were different about what this meant. The difference in expectations resulted in failure on both sides. She has a new job now.
So, before you dive into your new job, here are 5 conversations to have with your manager to help you align on expectations and needs; saving time and ultimately increasing your chances of success. In practice they can be 5 distinct conversations or a few dialogues.
The 5 conversations:
1) What is the brief?
What are the expectations from this role? Is the expectation that you are going to reboot the role? Or perhaps it is to steady the ship? How will they measure your success in this role? This may have been articulated at the interview, but clarifying and contracting around afterwards is important because one person’s interpretation of something can be very different to the next.
2) What is the diagnosis of the situation here?
Data and facts can be interpreted differently and spun into many different stories. As you explore and understand the situation, you may identify different insights and it is critical that you are both aligned.
3) How can we work together?
What are your managers work preferences and what are yours? Just because you worked in one way with your previous line manager there is no guarantee that you’re new manager is going want the same. For example, what do they need to be able to make decisions? This helps to build understanding and trust quickly because you both understand how the other likes to work.
4) What resources do you need?
For you to succeed what resources do you need? People? Budget? Agencies? Input from other functions? And if you cannot have these resources it may require a readjustment of the brief.
5) What is your action plan?
Align and agree on your outputs, actions and timings, leaving no room for ambiguity.
Then finally leave the talking behind and crack on!