I’d Never Lie—Would I?

I’d Never Lie—Would I? You’d never lie, would you? Consider this scenario. You manage a software development group which has a multi-year project. It’s been one disaster after another. The first year, the client kept changing the specs. By the time that was sorted, you were almost six weeks behind. In the second year, the programmers ran into all kinds of problems not foreseen by the (now fired) systems architect. The programming started almost three months late. However, some simplification of the Years Three to Five plans should get you back on track by mid-Year Five. But the mid-term review is coming up. You meet with your boss, Rhonda, to discuss. Rhonda: Paul, I’m really worried about your report. You: I know it looks bad now but we can catch up by Year Five. Rhonda: But what if the executive committee doesn’t buy that? They’ll shut us down. Which means lay-offs. All your guys, I’d expect. You: (desperately) I’m sure we can make up the time. We just need the rest of the funding. Rhonda: I’ve got to take something more positive to the executive committee. Otherwise, we can kiss both our careers good-bye. You leave the meeting frustrated and,…

Getting Your Ideas Heard

Getting Your Ideas Heard We’ve been discussing dealing with the theft of your idea by a co-worker. The discouraging truth seems to be that it’s very hard to win this battle. So, instead you need to win the war. A much more positive way to approach this is to become the go-to idea guy. That is, the person the boss expects to come up with original ideas. First, of course, you have to have the innovative ideas to pitch. That I can’t help you with. If you do not typically come up with new takes, then I’d make my mark in some other way. Otherwise, you’ll end up like Emmett. But having the idea is not enough. You’ve got to get the powers-that-be excited about it. Getting a new idea adopted Again, if you generally work with a good group, you can create that excitement by having lots of colleagues sharing your enthusiasm. And this is by far the preferable way to interest your boss. However, if you are in a group with one or more confirmed idea-stealers, you might want to answer the following questions as a way to pitch your idea to your boss. Is there anything else…

Protecting Yourself against Idea-Stealers

Protecting Yourself against Idea-Stealers You assumed, incorrectly in this case, that Emmett was a good colleague who would help you hone and develop your idea. Frankly, I think that’s a good assumption to make generally (more of this later). Just not in this particular case. What can you do? You have already twigged to one strategy—don’t discuss ideas with people like that. But Emmett may ask for your suggestions for an idea he ostensibly has come up with. Do not give him any as he likely has an empty bucket he’s hoping you’ll fill. Instead, say something like, “Gosh, Emmett, I’m blanking. But if I think of anything, I’ll let you know.” And put it out of your mind and continue with your life. Don’t even do it if he offers to share the credit with you. He won’t and you’ll be back in the same old position. If you come up with an idea, and for some reason, must discuss it with Emmett (e.g. because he has some special expertise), do it in the presence of someone else. You might float it during a coffee-break or other casual moment to camouflage the whole witness thing. If you’re really on…

Doing Nothing when Someone Steals Your Idea
Employee Stream , Lying for Employees / February 27, 2017

Doing Nothing when Someone Steals Your Idea Emmett, a co-worker stole your idea. He denies it and your mutual boss, Len, doesn’t believe you when you complain. What’s left? Does that mean you should let Emmett get away scott-free? No way. Yes, possibly. The advantages of doing nothing I know, the idea sticks in your craw. But consider the following: It’s your word against Emmett’s. Emmett has more credibility with Len than you do, however undeserved. You risk looking like a whiner to Len. Anything you do is unlikely to make a difference. I can hear the grinding of teeth. This is so unfair. And it is. It seems as if people like Emmett can get profile dishonestly and there seems to be no way to stop him. Actually, in the long run, the Emmetts of the world often get their come-uppance. For one thing, as has already happened in your work group, everyone except you is wise to Emmett and it’s unlikely they’ll float ideas in front of him. So, he has to rely on newbies like you. But you also are once burned, twice shy. Eventually, Emmett is cut off from new ideas to steal. And in the…

Complaining to your Boss when a Co-Worker Steals Your Idea
Employee Stream , Lying for Employees / February 20, 2017

Complaining to your Boss when a Co-Worker Steals Your Idea In the previous post, you confront the co-worker (Emmett) who passed your idea off as his. As a result, the boss Len thinks Emmett is the cat’s pyjamas and has assigned him to develop the idea. Your idea. You tried confronting Emmett but got nowhere. So the next option could be to complain to Len. I mean, surely the boss cares about this type of thing. So, the next day, you poke your head into Len’s office. You: Hi, got a minute? Len: Sure, what’s up? You: Well, you know that idea you wanted Emmett to develop? Len: Yeah, it’s great. Emmett’s got a knack for coming up with new takes. You: Ah, well, that idea was mine. Len: Yours? What do you mean? You: I told Emmett about it and he stole it to present to you. Len: That’s a serious charge. You: Yeah, but apparently he does this all the time. The others— Len: (holds up a hand) I don’t want to hear gossip. Have you talked to Emmett about this? You: Yes, but he denies it. Len: So, are you sure you didn’t misinterpret what happened? You:…