The implicit agreement

Our lives are often governed by descriptive agreements. These agreements could be written or verbal and may be based on mutual understanding and trust.

  • The rental agreement.
  • Home ownership agreement with the society.
  • Nuptial and/or pre-nuptial agreements.
  • Agreement made with your coach and/or mentor.
  • Your agreement with your organisation on your joining.
  • The unspoken agreement in relationships with partners, parents, siblings, friends.
  • And finally, your own agreement with your own self.

What do these agreements have in common? They have a set of do’s and don’ts that when adhered to, results in optimum desirable outcome. Those may be extension, continuity, benefits, promotion, etc., depending on the nature of the agreement.

Your job description is an agreement

There is one agreement that however does not fit into the above standard description. Yet, it has strong implications on the growth, outcome and productivity of the individual as well as the organisation.

It is the job description of your work. A document that not just outlines the expectations that the organisation has from you but also has a strong bearing on your overall performance and future career trajectory.

The job description in a way is an implicit understanding between the employee and the manager/organisation on the evaluation matrix for job performance and determination of future requirements of the employee.

As in many cases, an employee evaluates the job description before sending in her/his application. On selection, it is assumed that the employee will do the duties as described therein. That is, however, just the beginning of the employment.

The job description is the steppingstone that leads to the detailing of the role and an agreement with the manager on the expectations expected from the employee. It is a vital document that provides insights into the skills, knowledge and competencies of the employee. At the same time, it tells the employee what the organisation demands or expects from her/him.

The implicit agreement

So, you have been selected, you have joined, and you have that understanding of the job expectations from your manager. You perform well but you may still however lose out in the long run.

And that could be because you have not gone beyond that detailed description to really understand the big picture. The big picture that shows you the company’s strategy, plans, vision and how your actions fit into the overall success of the company. That is the implicit agreement that you need to get clarity on. It is there in your job description. Question is, how many really notice it or look for it and seek more information around the big picture during the interview process?

Now that you are aware that your job description is a document that holds a lot more, allow yourself to reflect and rework on how you approach your work.

  • For instance, a promotion is not about doing the perfect work. It is about you prioritise your work, how you align your work with the overall goals of the organisation, and what value-add you bring to enhance that goal. This is about quality and not about the race to complete a job.
  • Finding a mentor within the organisation can greatly aid you to understand the business and its priorities. Through conversations with your mentor and/or even your coworkers, you can gain new insights and perspectives.
  • Keep the mission and vision of your company right in the forefront of your work. Go back to it at regular intervals. It can act as a checkpoint for your work and the direction is it taking.
  • Research the trends around your work and understand what the competition is doing. Understand the pulse of the environment, of your organisation and that of your colleagues. Speak with them to learn about challenges and how they are being navigated.

By going beyond your job description and seeing it as an agreement that aligns your work with the big picture of the organisation, an employee is on the pathway to being agile, courageous, innovative and resilient. That is indeed a win-win for the employee, the manager as well as the organisation.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Sarita Bahl is an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Swedish Institute of Management Program. An experienced and versatile leader, she comes with nearly four decades of professional experience. She has over the years successfully overseen the communications and public affairs function and led the corporate social responsibility strategy for Bayer South Asia, Pfizer, and Monsanto, among others. Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, the public sector, trade associations, MNCs, and the not-for-profit sector. Her areas of interest include advocacy, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and communications.

As an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and Senior Practitioner (Mentoring) from the European Council of Mentoring and Coaching (EMCC), Sarita specializes in career transition, inner engineering and life issues. Sarita enjoys writing and is passionate about animals, books, and movies.

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