Understanding expectations before you start a new job seems obvious. You read the job description, you know the title, and you asked “what does a normal day look like?” Isn’t that enough?
Several years ago, my wife was considering a big career move. Despite her 20 years of work experience, this was only going to be her fourth full-time job and I wanted to help her get a complete picture of what she could expect. Fortunately, I have some experience in this arena as before I founded ZogLife, I held over ten jobs and hired somewhere around 500 full time people. I asked her four questions:
1. Who will be your boss?
2. Who will help you succeed?
3. How will your success be measured in 6 months, one year, two years and beyond?
4. If you have conflicting priorities, how will you reconcile which to do first?
My wife answered, “I’ll have two bosses. They need me to be the General Counsel of the existing organization, set up a new company and deal with anything urgent that requires legal advice. And… they never said which priority is more important.” Well, guess how that worked out? She was as miserable as I’ve ever seen her and only lasted 10 months in the job.
Why are these questions important?
1) Your Boss: A good supervisor does four things well: defines goals and expectations, holds you accountable, coaches you through challenges, and gives you the room to figure things out. If your boss doesn’t do these things, then they don’t care about you. If they do, you’re going to grow.
2) Your Team: No one succeeds alone. It’s about the team, resources, authority, priorities and removing political barriers. If your boss helps make these happen, your success is only dependent on one thing: you.
3) Your Success: How will your success be measured? The metrics can be quantitative and/or qualitative, but ultimately the goals need to be within your control and partially defined by you. If you have little or no control (as is the case with companywide revenue goals) then you will be less motivated. If you understand the role you’re applying for and believe some key performance indicators will help you be successful, then suggest them and set the specific goal number. It’s a great opportunity to own your success.
4) Your Priorities: Every job will present conflicting requests on your time and energy. How will you decide what to focus on? The answer comes from #3: focus on the things that are most important to measure your success. The other answer is your boss. Just ask her/him. Don’t guess.
Before accepting a new job, ask the tough questions. If the company can’t provide you with satisfying answers, you should think very hard if this is the right move for your future.
If you believe that what we believe and want to join us, check out our career and part-time opportunities at https://www.zogsports.com/join-the-team.aspx
About the Author
Robert Herzog, Founder and CEO, ZogCulture and ZogSports
I believe life is better with real personal connections, caring communities and a sense of play. I founded ZogSports after my close call on 9/11. In 2012, we launched ZogCulture to help create playful experiences at work so that employees can connect, be part of a community, and infuse play into the DNA of their company’s culture. We are directly impacting over 150,000 people per year across the country and have donated over $3.4M to charity. In 2017, Zog made the Crain’s Best Places to Work list (again!) and earned the prestigious B Corporation “Best For the World — Community” award.
If you’re interested in this sort of stuff, I have an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from Wharton and a BA in Economics (which I rarely use) from Brown. I live and play in NYC with my awesome wife of 15+ years and two super active, sporty boys.
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