Accelerate Success

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Strategic Alignment

There are many important components to a successful onboarding program but the key starting point is alignment with your immediate supervisor. If alignment is not properly established from the beginning, the train will derail sooner or later.

The best way to achieve the expectations of your new supervisor is to know what he or she wants from you. I recommend scheduling a strategic alignment meeting with your immediate supervisor prior to, or immediately upon starting your new position.

Use these key components for a successful meeting:

  • Be prepared: Organize your thoughts.
  • Begin with an attempt to engage the other individual in what sets a positive tone.
  • Try to learn as much about him or her as you can. Ask questions to find out what they are passionate about both in and outside of the workplace.
  • Seek to understand before being understood.
  • Discuss desired outcomes, achievements, and expectations based on your prior conversations with your new supervisor as well as others in the organization.
  • Be ready to respond with your thoughts on items such as projects that need to be achieved within designated time frames.
  • Clarify expectations/achievements/outcomes over the next 3 to 6 months.
  • Do not make assumptions: Ask intelligent questions until you have a clear understanding of those expectations/achievements/outcomes.
  • After your meeting, ask yourself, "How closely do these expectations align my own thoughts?"
  • Keep in mind the concept, "under promise over deliver."

An important topic to discuss is how your supervisor would like you to push back if you are in disagreement with them. Clarifying how to handle conflict is an important preventative discussion to avoid future issues that can erode your relationship.

Finalizing this alignment of expectations achievement and outcomes may go beyond this first meeting. This is key, especially if the expectations are unrealistic or not remotely close to what you thought they would be.

A strategic alignment meeting with your supervisor is worth the time and effort. It ensures that both of you are on the same page, establishes a good communication pattern, and allows you a safe path to pushback.

A good start creates a solid foundation to build on going forward.

Here's to your success,


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