Conflicting Orders—Refuse the Project
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / September 11, 2017

Conflicting Orders—Refuse the Project In the last post, you asked your boss Sean’s permission to go ahead with a cross-silo project. He was either angry or gave you a chance. Problem is you don’t know which one it will be before the fact. Wouldn’t it be best to avoid undertaking the project completely, given you know that Sean is lukewarm to the idea? What kind of risk are you taking? You presumably know Sean to some extent. You’ve seen his reaction in other situations. Does he fly off the handle when things don’t go his way, or stay calm? Does he allow push-back on his orders, or do you know not to question him? These and other indicators can give you some predictive power on his reaction to broaching the cross-silo project. Pay attention. Should you assume the worst? If, after this assessment, you’re pretty sure that he’ll go ballistic, you’d be wise to keep your head down. But what if the risk doesn’t seem so extreme? What if he might go for it? In this case, I’d encourage asking, not just for the sake of the project. Being afraid to even raise an issue can lead to an unhealthy…

Conflicting Orders—Ask Your Boss
Power for Employees / September 4, 2017

Conflicting Orders—Ask Your Boss Your CEO (Danvers) gave a rousing speech about breaking down silos. In the last post, you and your buddy Ethan from another section decided to go ahead with a cross-silo project. Your boss (Sean) did not react well. Given this, should you have asked him first even though you think he would have said no? Let’s see what happens. If your boss is kind of a shit Sean: What did I tell you after the staff meeting? You: You said to keep working— Sean: Exactly—just work on the projects I assign you. You: But what about the CEO— Sean: (makes a disgusted noise) These mucky-mucks don’t know what they’re talking about. The trick is to keep your head down until they go haring off after another great idea. You: But if she really wants to change things— Sean: I’ll tell you if you need to change anything. You: Ah, okay. So you’ve asked and as you’ve feared, Sean has vetoed the idea without even giving you a chance to explain. You’re discouraged and Sean is probably pissed off that you questioned his original order. If your boss is kind of a good guy Sean: What did…

Conflicting Orders—Follow the Big Boss
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / August 27, 2017

Conflicting Orders—Follow the Big Boss In the last post, you went to an inspiring all-staff meeting where the CEO, Ms. Danvers, encouraged everyone to work across silos to create greater team work. You think it’s a great idea although your boss Sean seems neutral. But your buddy Ethan from another unit (silo) of the company is also enthusiastic and suggests you work together on a great new app. You really believe in the CEO’s message so you agree to start work on the project. For the next couple of weeks, you work hard on it and you’re getting excited about its potential. It’s taken more time than anticipated but you figure with one last push, you’ll at least have a demo. You can imagine the CEO using your work and Ethan’s as an example of cross-silo teamwork . However, at the beginning of the third week, Sean leans over your cubicle wall. Sean: Hey, Ange, I was expecting the Houston redesign on Friday. What’s up? You: Oh, sorry, Sean, it’s taking longer than expected. I should have it to you by the end of the week. Sean: But what about the Kowallski project for this week? It’s due by Friday,…

Conflicting Orders
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / August 21, 2017

You can be Caught by Conflicting Orders You’ve just come from an all-staff meeting. The CEO seems great. She’s all fired up about a new approach to teamwork which encourages employees to work across silos to share expertise and resources. You’re eager to give it a try. You’re walking back from the meeting with your boss, Sean. You: Boy, that was a great, don’t you think? Sean: Yeah, sure, Angela. You: I mean, we need to break down silos across the company. Sean: I guess so. You: So what do you think we should be doing? Sean: I think you should keep doing what you’re doing. You: But Ms Danvers— Sean: Yeah, same old, same old. Back at your cubicle, you’re a little nonplussed. Sean is usually quite a good guy. Maybe he just got out of the wrong side of the bed. Your office neighbor (Lori) comes back to her desk. You: What did you think of the meeting? Lori: That Danvers—she can really get everybody fired up. You: Yeah, I thought so. But Sean didn’t seem to. Lori: (shrug) I don’t think he likes Danvers. You: How come? Lori: Well, we got hit pretty hard on the last…