Making Tough Decisions as a Boss. Part 1 of 2

Making Tough Decisions as a Boss. Part 1 of 2 In the last post, you tried to get money for the new project only to find yourself outmaneuvered and forced to find half of it within your existing budget. That is, you must take money from your other two units to give to Mike. There are basically three options for deciding how the money will be moved. The following table gives you their pros and cons. Options Pros Cons Option 1: You decide ·       Quick ·       Efficient ·       Bigger picture will be kept in mind ·       Don’t have to deal with supervisors jockeying for position (i.e. power undercurrent) ·       May not be effective as you may not understand the details of each unit enough to reallocate the money correctly ·       May anger/alienate some/all of your staff Option 2: Supervisors decide ·       Everybody gets heard ·       New solutions might be tabled ·       Transparent ·       Lose control of the outcome ·       Will take longer to decide ·       Not all relevant factors may be considered Option 3: Supervisors discuss; you decide ·       Keep control of the process ·       Everybody gets heard ·       New solutions might be tabled ·       Transparent ·       All relevant factors…

Falling Prey to Power Plays from Other Managers

Falling Prey to Power Plays from Other Managers In a previous post, we saw how YOU (Galen), as manager of a unit in a card manufacturing company, assign a new project to Mike because Mike used phrases which were sacrosanct in your work culture. Now YOU attend a management meeting of Alicia (YOUR boss), and your peer managers (Dante and Marguerite), to discuss how to fund the new project. Alicia: Okay, next item: funding Galen’s project. YOU: We’ll need about $500,000 for the software and marketing. Dante: That’s a lot! Where’s it gonna come from? YOU: I assume from Alicia’s special projects fund. Alicia: That would pretty much clean it out for the year. YOU: Maybe we each can take a hit on our budgets. Marguerite: Alicia, I’m already to the bone. More cuts would mean I can’t meet my deadlines and there would be hell to pay down the line. Alicia: Yes, I can see that. Dante:  It can’t be from mine! Alicia, you’re usually right on the money on new trends, but as you yourself say, better safe than sorry. Alicia: In what way? Dante: We can’t jeopardize our other operations. Let’s start small in Galen’s area and…

Do Your Employees Control You?

Do Your Employees Control You? In my recent post, Power—The Hidden Engine at Work, three employees vie for a new responsibility and one—Mike—wins by snowing his boss Galen. In this post, I’ll discuss how this shift in control happened and why it’s important. Off the top, I realize that ‘control’ is a harsh word. I just couldn’t think of another word for the phenomenon. In addition, I recognize that for the most part, employees are not scheming and nefarious people; they’re just trying to have things go in their favor. A completely human thing to do. The problem arises when the manager doesn’t recognize this undercurrent and gets caught up in it. How did Mike control Galen? Every organization has them—hot button words or phrases which are sacrosanct. Might be lean and mean, quality first, company brand, what’s best for the company, budget discipline, etc. You can probably identify some in your own company. The curious thing is that whenever these hot buttons are mentioned, everyone figuratively stands up and salutes. And there is a rush to ensure that the hot button item is protected. In our scenario, almost without realizing it, Galen fell for phrases like company brand and…

The Secret Code of Getting Ahead

The Secret Code of Getting Ahead You can garner influence by using the techniques outlined in the previous post. However, you need to recognize a secret code about the pursuit of power. Not following them will doom your best efforts to implement these techniques. Secret Code Number One: you have to pretend you’re not interested in power Sounds weird, no?  But the rule is that it’s okay to be seen as ambitious in general not in the specific. In general, it is usually considered good, praise-worthy even. Senior managers look favorably on an employee who wants to get ahead. So, if someone asks you whether you’re ambitious, it’s okay to admit to it. However, even then, it’s probably better to reply in the correct code (I’m certainly interested in doing all I can for the company) than a bald ‘yes.’ But ambition often isn’t acceptable when talking about a specific promotion or plum. If you said, “I knew you’d get that promotion. You’re so ambitious,” that person would likely reply something like, “No, no, I just want the opportunity to contribute.”[1] The savvy reply this way because they know it’s dangerous to be seen as succeeding in your ambition—that success…

How Do I Get Power/Influence?

How Do I Get Power/Influence? Let’s say you’ve recognized that you want influence or power in your job, either to move ahead or avoid falling behind. First and as a given, you need to do your present job exceptionally well even if it’s a joe job and you know you’d be more successful at a higher level. Bosses don’t promote people who are doing a crummy job, no matter the reason. However, that’s not enough. To position yourself for promotion, you need to be influential with your boss and within your company.[1] Even if your boss doesn’t have the power to promote you, he can usually assign you to projects which increase your skills or assign you to cross-functional teams. The first makes you more promotable and the second gives you profile. How do you create influence? How many of the following are effective in creating influence? Working even harder Doing whatever needs to be done Flattering the boss Suggesting new ideas even if you give the credit to others Suggesting new ideas even if they aren’t your own Highlighting the many fires you’ve put out Did you pick more than one? Nope, I’d say the only one which works…