Tuesday 27 November 2018

5Ps Model @ New Job

A new job, one of those rare occasions when we feel a combination of few (or all) emotions - excitement to anxiety, pre-joining confidence to post-joining imposter-syndrome, know-it-all to there-is-so-much-to-learn, confidence to dread, satisfaction to frustration and "this was a good decision" to "this is a huge mistake". This happens to all, even the best of us.
Why does it happen, and how to manage this?
I started a new job last month, which happened to be my "first" new job in 12 years. Everything changed for me - industry, function, location (well, city not country) and seniority - reason enough for all of the above emotions to run through me. During first couple of weeks, despite a warm welcome from everyone (actually, almost everyone) and comforting words from my seniors, I couldn't shake-off the nagging feeling that something was amiss - only to realise later that fear-of-failure and anxiety (due to enormity of challenges ahead of me) wouldn't allow me to settle-in.
This experience made me think deep and break down the problem, resulting in the following 5Ps Model that explains what externals we need to focus on and the internal aspects to use initially at a new job.

The first three - People, Process and Product are the externals that we need to manage.
1P: People - this could be our immediate supervisor / manager, our team, the team that we are a part of, employees in other divisions / departments, suppliers and clients / customers. For many different reasons, which reside inside of us and outside, people-management is the biggest challenge faced by most in their new jobs. It is not a matter of extrovert vs. introverts - not that extroverts will have it easier just because they are considered to have gift of the gab - it is about understanding people and responding to them as needed. This does require a level of maturity and high emotional intelligence.
2P: Process - lack of knowledge and understanding of processes followed at the new organisation often becomes frustrating. From small things such as how do I get coffee to more serious issues such as organisational culture - is Friday a casual dress-day or formal / is humour acceptable during meetings / should I speak my mind freely etc. Process is what gives us the framework for our behaviour, our actions and how we do our work - thus focussing on this in initial few weeks is going to be extremely helpful in the long-run. Here, under Process, I am not referring to work-processes, such as how reports have to be completed and submitted or how orders are fulfilled. Speaking with colleagues, not getting stuck to our chair (moving around the office just to say hello), asking for help when stuck - these are some actions we can take to get clarity on processes of the new organisation. Keeping to ourselves and the work given to us - well, that is not going to help for this.
3P: Product - what are we selling (we = new organisation), whether it is a product or a service, and how? It can also be looked as: what am I supposed to deliver? My deliverable is the product / service that I am selling. This is what I call as Product in my model. In case we change industry - as I have done in all my 5 jobs (having sold newspaper, auto-loans, broadband, home-accessories, and now bathroom solutions) - lack of product understanding is the single largest roadblock to our performance. Unless we understand what we need to sell / deliver, we won't know how to and finally, we won't find a successful way of completing our tasks efficiently.
4P: Positivity - with not many things going our way, or in a manner that we think they should, we could lose confidence in ourselves and / or interest in work or even feel lonely and lost. We need to dig-deep inside and reach for our positivity reserves. We need to remind ourselves of our past accomplishments, of the fact that we were chosen to be there, of our reasons to join...we need to constantly remind ourselves to remain positive.
5P: Patience - Following positivity closely, is patience. We need to remain patient in our new job - well, until such time at-least that we stop calling it a "new" job. It is important to realise that it is ok not to hit every ball out of the park, it is ok to not know everything about the job, it is ok to miss a few opportunities...it is okay, be patient! In time, things will fall in place and we will be where we want to be (at least be on our way to be where we want to be).
As per my experience, almost all challenges that we face in any new job will fall under one of the three heads - People, Process and Product. It is critical to focus on these three, all the while remaining positive and patient - to give ourselves time to settle-in and find our footing.
For those who are interested in more - we can extend this 5Ps model to 7Ps, by adding Persistence and Power-dynamics.

Yes, we need to be persistent...we need to be at it, learn and overcome our shortcomings and work towards always-improving. Power-dynamics is not for all to dabble in, but still a key feature in most cases (beyond a certain level of seniority). With a good handle on new-organisation's power-dynamics, we are likely to overcome some other battles with little to no effort towards those battles. However, I do believe that persistence is a subset of positivity (if you are not positive, you cannot persist), and by understanding People and Process - you are likely to get some understanding of Power-dynamics. That's why I have kept my model as 5Ps @ New Job.

This model is helpful in keeping the most important things in our focus, helping us aligning our actions and priorities and ensuring we don't lose confidence or hope. It is absolutely essential to break down problems we face, in some sort of understandable buckets / groups - this will not only help us identify a common-factor to our problems but also provide us with clarity about why those problems occurred and how to approach them going-forward.
Another way to look at this model is to associate the "Ps" with "Ws and H": people are the who, processes are the how, product is the what, positivity is reminding us our why, and patience is giving us confidence to play the long game - the when.

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