“Creating Common Ground ~ Shift Four”

By: Misti Burmeister


“What is uttered from the heart alone, will win the hearts of others to your own.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Seasoned Professionals:

 

COMMON GROUND

 

Young Professionals:

4. Be at work when you are needed

–>

Accountability for results

<–

Freedom and flexibility in my schedule


Seasoned Professionals:

A Senior Manager (Margaret) at a Fortune 100 company was frustrated with some of the young professionals in her department. They would come in late, leave early and wanted to work from home. They wanted more flexibility in their schedules, but Margaret felt that the nature of their work made it imperative for them to be in the same building during the workday. She had a high turnover rate and was willing to try something, but was unsure how to proceed. She requested my assistance in working through this challenge.

I saw two issues. One was an issue of control, which seasoned professionals (especially women) have a tendency to feel is important. Fortunately, Margaret was willing to “let go” in order for her entire team to work on the concern at hand and come up with an acceptable solution.

The second issue was that the team was not clear about its mission, vision and strategy, making it difficult for the younger professionals to understand how they fit into the larger picture and why their schedules mattered.

I brought the team together and facilitated a discussion about their mission, vision and strategy, giving everyone an opportunity to contribute ideas. As the team members became clearer on their contribution to the success/failure of the mission, they created a common strategy and could now understand the importance of being together in person to achieve their goals.

In the interest of creating common ground, Margaret was willing to let go of control and pronouncements (you should be here from 8-5) and the young professionals on her team were willing to let go of looking only at their own desires (I want to work on my own terms) so they could achieve their mission.

Sometimes it makes sense for senior professionals to take the time to be sure that everyone understands the mission/vision and allow for team members to find their own way to a workable strategy, rather than “pulling rank” or attempting to control the situation through inflexibility.

When young professionals have a hand in creating the strategy, they are more likely to be productive team members, accountable for the results they produce.

Young Professionals:

I have heard many young professionals say they are most interested in finding a company that provides them with complete freedom and flexibility. In a recent conversation with Jessica, a generation Yer, she shared that she is someone who works best late in the day and into the evening and was seeking an opportunity based on a desired schedule. However, once she found a company where she could achieve her career goals, the scheduling seemed less important.

If you desire freedom and flexibility in your schedule, look for win/win situations. If it is possible to complete your work from home, or at a time when you are most productive, consider how you might approach your supervisor. The fact that they have a certain view of how, when and where work is done is not “right” or “wrong.” Take time to first consider your employer’s concerns (i.e. producing results). This will help you in getting what you want/need. Put yourself in your boss’s shoes and think about how you can offer productive suggestions in line with creating the desired return for the company.

If there is only one thing you get out of all my newsletters and other writings, let it be this: “It’s not what you say, or even what you ask for — it’s how you say it or how you ask for it.” Many times, young professionals demand extra training, time off, or to work when/where they want. When your career goals are in alignment with your organization’s goals, gaining extra training will likely benefit you and your organization. When you put the focus on yourself (i.e. “I want this training.”) you’re likely to come across as self-centered. Likewise, when you put the focus on your organization’s needs (i.e. “In order to most effectively meet our customer’s/organizational needs, it would be helpful for me to get this training.”) you’re likely to come across as proactive and a team player.

Any change worth implementing is not likely to happen overnight. Assuming that you have found an organization where you can fulfill your career goals, be patient with the system and committed to your organization. That long-term commitment will pay off and assist you in eventually getting the long-term position you seek!

Next Time:

Seasoned Professionals:

 

COMMON GROUND

 

Young Professionals:

5. Adhere to necessary rules

–>

Acceptable risk

<–

I can do it fast and better and I have fresh ideas


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>