In our last issue, we presented this Actual Case History, and these Lessons to Learn. With this issue, we complete ” What You Should Do to Complete Your Own 2005 Yearly QVP Plan.”

ACTUAL CASE HISTORY: Like most people, Darren (a senior actuary for a reinsurance company) went from year to year, never proactively planning for his career success or job security. He always worked hard, and each year hoped for a raise and a promotion, and a decent bonus. He never planned or practiced requests for raises, bonuses, or promotions, and never took the steps necessary to increase his chances of achieving them. You might say he was much more the “hitchhiker” than the “driver” with his employer. That is, like most people, Darren simply “did his best . . . and hoped for the best.”

And the results were, simply, predictable. Though Darren worked hard, and put in long hours, he never achieved the positions and compensation he thought he deserved. He became sort of “invisible” at work — there, but not noticed. And when times got tough, and a list was drawn up of those who were to be “RIF’ed,” that is, downsized, his name was on the list. It didn’t have to be that way. And it doesn’t have to be that way for you, either.

These days, you can’t simply wait to be discovered, appreciated or rewarded. It just doesn’t happen that way.

LESSONS TO LEARN: Ben Franklin said it best: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Though it may not seem plausible, you can create a plan, each year, to develop greater job security and career success. Yes, each year you can put together a rational and reasonable plan that will – without doubt – increase your chances of doing better at work. We have a “method,” a sensible way to make sense of achieving greater career success and job security. It’s easy to learn, easy to remember, and easy to make happen. It’s the only method for doing so that exists, and IT WORKS. It’s called The QVP™ Method.

You should take this opportunity to learn our QVP™ Method, and put it into practice. Each January you start a new year, and you have a new opportunity to make that the first year that you’ll do better for yourself – and your family – than you did before.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Our QVP™ Method has seven steps that, both separately and together, help you move forward and upward on the job. Consider buying our “Seven Steps to Job Security” Guide (204 pages), or our “Job Security DVD – What Top Executives Know” (viewing time 1 hour) at our self-help website – www.NegotiatingAtWork.com – if you’d like to learn about our powerful method. Even if you’re a novice, and are only beginning to think of how you can help yourself, there are things to do. They’re QVP’s Seven Steps:

As a reminder, in the last issue we reviewed Steps 1, 2 and 3 of our QVP Method. You can review that issue in its entirety by clicking our “Archives” button, below. As a reminder, steps 1, 2 and 3 are:

1. Develop One New Aspect of “UNIQUE HUMAN CAPITAL,” that is, a special skill, relation, knowledge or other important attribute. These days, “If you’re not distinct, you’ll be extinct.” Said differently, “Be different, or be downsized.” It’s time to decide: “What special new Unique Human Capital will I develop in 2005, to make me more valuable, attractive and a “keeper?”

2. Consider How You Will Transform Your New Unique Human Capital into a “PERCEPTION of VALUE.” It’s worthless to have a special, unique skill, relation or knowledge, or other attribute, if no one knows about it. You’ve got to effectively advertise and promote yourself. It’s time to decide, “What steps will I take in 2005, to make sure people in my department, division, company and industry KNOW ABOUT my new (and existing) Unique Human Capital?”

3. Target Your Real “PERSON or POCKET of POWER or PROFIT.” You don’t work for a company, but in reality for a person or group of influence. We call this your “P.P.O.P.P.” It’s time to consider “Who do I now look to as the person or group who values me, relies on me, needs me, and will advocate for me if needed?” Consider, now, “In 2005, who can I add to my list of P.P.O.P.P.’s?”

In this issue we cover QVP’s Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7:

4. Seek the “3 R’s”: “REWARDS, RISK-LIMITERS and RESPONSIBILITIES”: Everyone seeks the “rewards” of employment: title, compensation, benefits, perq’s, vacation, and the like. Few people need help in figuring out what “rewards” they deserve or want. However, far fewer take the additional – and wise – step to concentrate on achieving possible “risk limiters” on the job. What are “risk limiters?” They are the things that reduce risk – that is, measures of JOB SECURITY – including such things as (a) a definite term of employment, (b) an agreed period of “notice” before any kind of termination, (c) an agreed amount of severance, and (d) promises of treatment that is “no less favorable” than others at your level. And third, ask for more responsibilities and authorities at work. Having – and fulfilling – critical responsibilities at work makes you necessary, that is, far less likely ever to be laid off, and also gives you greater leverage to get more rewards and risk limiters in the future. Make a list of your “3 R” goals for 2005.

5. Analyze your working relation in terms of the “3 C’s”: “CLARITY, COMMITMENT AND COMMUNITY”: Consider your present employment relation: does it incorporate what we call the “3 C’s.” First, there’s clarity: are you and every one around you “clear” as to what is your title, your role, your responsibilities, your authorities, your reporting lines (below and above you), even your anticipated next promotion? The more “clarity,” the less chance of future friction. Second, is there a “commitment” between you and your employer to each other, in the form of a defined period of employment, or perhaps a minimum, mutual notice period, or perhaps even guaranteed severance. People do their best work when not concerned or anxious. And third, is there a “community” of interest between you and your employer? This is a product of such things as pay-for-performance, or stock options that rise in value as the company does. That is, measures that effectively say, “I’ll do well if the company does well, and vice versa.” This coming year, try to find ways – simple ways – to incorporate the 3-C’s into your employment relation. Every bit helps.

6. For your approach, use the process we call the “3 P’s”, or “PREPARATION, PRACTICE and PROJECTION.” If you take steps 1 to 5, above, you will be “preparing” yourself to negotiate like never before. Then, “practice” and practice and practice your pitch, whether to your dog, while you exercise, or in the shower. Get down quite convincingly all of your value, and each of the “3-R’s” and “3-C’s” you seek. Finally, it’s time for the actual face-to-face “projection,” which should be easier than ever before, mainly because it’s really all been done by now. You can now simply “deliver the script.” But when you do so this time, you’ll have a solid belief in your message of “Unique Human Capital” and “Perception of Value” and right through the balance of The QVP Method. Believe in your message, imagine yourself being convincing and successful, and guess what: you will be. “Project” your message, your overall message of value and worth, and you will prevail at least as favorably as anyone could.

7. When things are promised, assured or suggested, follow up by CONFIRMING in WRITING. The most important step in any negotiation is to clearly confirm what’s been agreed to. In a friendly, casual and informal way, write “Thank You” for the time taken to speak, for the assurances and clarity offered, and set them down in a note and/or email, just to make sure there’s no confusion; after all, you’ll be relying on them going forward. “It pays to be polite,” in employment negotiating, and we really mean “pay.”

These are the Seven Steps of our QVP™ Method. These are the things to start thinking about, pondering and considering in Preparing Your QVP Plan for this year. Start the new year with your new, proactive and powerful way of preparing for your success and security at work. Try it – you’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Consider, too, joining one of our QVP Method Groups, to keep things moving upward over time.

Late Summer / Early Fall. Send a “Bonus Expectations Memo” to Your Boss. It can be very helpful. To obtain a Model, [click here.]

P.S.: If you would like to speak with me directly about this or other workplace-related subjects, I am available for 30-minute, 60-minute, or 120-minute telephone consultations. (Even 5-minute “Just One Question” calls). Just [click here.] Evenings and weekends can be accommodated.