Making a Decision with Power Undercurrents at Work

Making a Decision with Power Undercurrents at Work In the previous post, knowing that the upcoming budget meeting was going to be contentious, you prepared for it by working through how to deal with any issues which might be raised. This recognizes the undercurrent of keeping or increasing power which is underlying the decision. Just as a reminder: YOU are Galen, Alicia is your boss, and Dante and Marguerite are your peer managers. Working with undercurrents in making the decision Let’s run through how the meeting might go and how YOU can apply your prep to the situation. Alicia: Okay, next item: funding Galen’s project.   You: Just before we start, could I review what my team has come to understand are the real benefits of this project for the company? (And then outline them). Take charge by using some of your prep work Alicia: So how much do you think you’ll need?   You: About 500K.   Dante:  Wow, that’s a lot! They are going to say that no matter what You: About half is for software development, and about (outline breakdown of costs). Bolster the feeling that you have a handle on this although expect some picking at…

Managing Power Undercurrents in a Budget Meeting

Managing Power Undercurrents in a Budget Meeting In a previous post, you tried to get the budget for a new project but got snookered by the others at the meeting (your boss Alicia and your peer managers, Dante and Marguerite). Is there any way you could have better the outcome of having to fund the project from your existing budget? Preparing to meet power undercurrents There is a charming, naïve and completely wrong idea that, even with important issues, you can wing it. You can’t. Just hoping for the best is not a plan. You need to think through the issue before you engage with others who also have a stake in the outcome of the discussion. I don’t say that you have to do this for every meeting, but you need to in the case we’re talking about, you probably do. Budget, and its discussions, is pointy end of the spear in any organization. Everyone will arrive ready to defend their piece of it and, if possible, increase it. The power undercurrent will be running fast and strong. You’ll get swept under unless you prepare yourself. Questions to ask yourself before the budget meeting In the earlier post, you…

Making Tough Decisions as a Boss. Part 2 of 2

Making Tough Decisions as a Boss. Part 2 of 2 You (Galen) have to re-allocate your budget to fund a new service which allows customers to design their own greeting cards. You will have to take money from the budgets of the other supervisors (Sarah and Neil), to reallocate to Mike who will head up the new service. You meet with all the supervisors to discuss how to do this. The tough discussion You: Okay, guys, Alicia doesn’t have enough to fund the new service from her budget, so we need to come up with half of the money.   Sarah: You mean you’re going to cut us? You need to expect protest and let it run for a bit. Dale: No way, Galen, I’m under-funded as it is.   You: I’m sorry but we need to do this. But I won’t make the decision until after I’ve heard your views. This is very important to say. In the heat of the moment, they may try to take over the decision. Dale: Well, why did you pick Mike to begin with? I could have done as good a job. You are paying for the old sin of not choosing Mike…

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…