In an earlier post, I reminded you that most of the work of a successful negotiation is done before the actual meeting.
Gathering information is an important preparation step. So here is a flexible work planning checklist that, when completed, gives you the information needed to strengthen your negotiating position.
The approach and tone of your proposal for a flexible work arrangement should be tailored to match the environment of your workplace and your manager’s style.
What follows is “excellent homework for wannabes,” according to The Wall Street Journal’s Work & Family column, and it will help prepare you to fill in the blanks of your proposal template.
I’ve obtained and reviewed a copy of my employer’s latest employee manual. (Hard copy or on the employer’s Intranet site.)
I’ve checked the manual for flexible work policies and reviewed their provisions thoroughly.
I’ve researched/reviewed company literature to study my employer’s mission statements or company credo and considered how they could be aligned with my new flexible work arrangement.
I’ve pulled the language used in these statements for possible inclusion in my proposal.
Pat’s Tactical Tip: This is a powerful method for blocking objections or rejections. Using their (your employer’s) words to build your case makes it difficult to refuse your proposal. Insert these quotes in the Introduction section of your proposal template.
I’ve asked around my workplace to find out who has a flexible work arrangement on a formal or informal basis.
Pat’s Tactical Tip: Build your case on its own merits, yes, but finding precedents within your workplace can be a comfort point for your manager and thus another powerful negotiation strategy towards approval. Citing flexible work arrangements within your profession and/or industry—especially competitors—can also be effective.
I’ve asked those who have such arrangements how they obtained them, how it’s working out, advice for successful proposal acceptance, etc.
I’ve observed over time what type of response my manager gives to occasional special requests and/or accommodations in family emergency situations.
I’ve determined which of my superiors and/or my manager’s superiors would have to approve my proposal.
Know Your Manager!
No matter what, you’ll need the support and approval of your immediate manager, so here are a few more checklist items to complete.
I’ve observed my manager over time to determine the best way to present new ideas such as this proposal. For example, does s/he:
Seem to prefer discussing new ideas in the morning or afternoon?
Act more relaxed and receptive in the beginning, middle or the end of the week? In the morning or afternoon?
Seem to prefer receiving information face-to-face or in written form? Outline form or compositional? Detailed or bottom-line concise?
Have current major work pressures that would cause me to reconsider my timing, or to slant my proposal such that it could help the situation?
Like to have ownership of new ideas (as if s/he thought of it), so that I should ask for advice and input on my proposal?
A systematic approach to completing this checklist is a sure way to strengthen your negotiating position. Let me know if you have any questions about these flexible work prep steps.