Negotiating Deadlines

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Q My boss constantly asks me to complete assignments in unrealistic
time frames. I’m afraid that if I complain, it would jeopardize my
performance rating and future growth. What can I do?
A Your boss may not have the same perspective as you do regarding the deadlines she sets. “If you believe the deadline is unreasonable, prepare to negotiate,” says Robert Davis, author of Implement Now, Perfect Later (Robert Davis Associates, $13.95; 909-681-0686). Successful deadlines negotiation begins by all parties involved taking a realistic look at the amount of time available and required in order to complete an assignment, Davis suggests you develop a list of the steps you must take to complete an assignment, taking into account a fair estimate of the time required to complete each step. Prepare a flow chart to compare available time to the time required and share it with your boss.

Be prepared to present alternative ideas that either involve adding resources to complete the work faster or eliminating steps to cut down on the time required. Presenting the flow chart to your boss will ensure that the two of you have a common understanding of the work required to get the job done.

“But don’t offer all your strategies up front. Save at least one. If your boss is not receptive, be prepared with some other choice,” says Davis. The key to negotiations is not taking `no’ for an answer and being persistent. Taking the initiative to present concerns and prospective solutions to your boss will have a positive impact on your performance rating and future growth.