Benefiting from the Need for Harmony

Benefiting from the Need for Harmony In the last post, you attempted to table a proposal but were left hung out to dry. You hadn’t realized that the need for harmony trumped support for a good idea. Are you doomed to let Tod run the show? Not necessarily. You can be aware, respect, and even use the need for harmony. Let’s rewind and redo the meeting. The second meeting (reprise) YOU: I’d like to table my proposal. Tod: We have to deal with Finance’s first. YOU: How about hearing mine so we can compare? (turns to group) Who’s for that? Show of hands. (all hands go up) Tod: (grumpily) Fine. Let’s get it over with. Using the need for harmony Okay, very clever. You used the need for harmony to move your agenda forward by: Sidestepping a direct confrontation. Last time, you went head-to-head with Tod, disturbing the need for harmony and making everyone uncomfortable. They punished you by silence when you needed them to speak. Asking the group for something minor and non-verbal. In addition, rather than asking them to speak and risk Tod’s sharp tongue, you just asked for a show of hands.  Much easier, especially if you…

Challenging Fighting Words

Challenging Fighting Words Challenging Tod In the last post, you had an ugly meeting. Tod from Finance tried to grab the whole contracting process and went ballistic when people objected. You’ve had an idea you think would work. But the way things are going, it’s likely to be tough to get the idea heard. What can you do to get your idea heard? If you try to table it over Tod’s singlemindedness, it’s likely to descend into another shouting match. But if you gather support before the meeting, you’ll up your chances of swinging things your way. You spend the rest of the week talking to Sarah, Lilianna, Irwin, and others. They’re reluctant but, in the end, concede that it’s a better idea than Tod’s. You’re pleased. The second meeting YOU: I’d like to propose an approach to meet our needs and still be responsive to customers. Tod: Wait a minute, we didn’t finish discussing Finance’s. YOU: We did discuss it. Tod: No way. All I got was roadblocks. Nobody tried to make it work. YOU: Let me present my idea and then we can compare. Tod: (voice rising) Are you trying to cut Finance out? I bet you want…

Fighting Words

Fighting Words Streamlining the contracting process Your company makes women’s wear for the lower end of the market. The clothes are made off-shore but dealing with store buyers is local. The big buyers have complained that renegotiating contracts takes forever—up to six months. Finance draws up the contract. Then it needs sign-offs from Marketing, Strategy, Overseas ops, Material management, Sales, Customer relations, and again Finance. Things have come to a head because your biggest customer is threatening to use a competitor if your company can’t fix this. Your boss has chosen you to represent Customer relations in  a cross-departmental group to streamline the process. The first meeting Tod (Finance): The solution is clear. Finance taking the lead will speed things up a whole lot. Sarah (Ops): How do you figure? Tod: We write the contract and give final approval. If we had the whole thing, it’d be done in no time. Sarah: Without Ops input? When we have to deliver what you negotiate? Tod: We can’t have a million approvals. We have the budget, so we have most at stake. Sarah: So do we. If you negotiate below costs, we’re in trouble. Tod: (face gets red) Why would we negotiate…

Bringing Yourself to Work

Bringing Yourself to Work If you are just starting out in your career, this phrase might not mean much to you. Of course you bring yourself to work. What else could you do? However, if you’ve worked for any length of time, it might have meaning. The longer you are employed, the more you come to realize that you can’t necessarily do at work what you might do in your personal life. The pressures of work Work requires a number of adjustments to what you might typically do. You have to bite your tongue. You need to be careful how you say things. ‘What a stupid idea’ will mostly garner resentment. You need to learn to say, ‘What an interesting thought.’ You have to be a little respectful of your boss and/or the hierarchy. Where at home you might tell your significant other, ‘you’re full of it,’ you can’t usually do that with your boss. Some implicit deference is required even if you don’t feel that way. You have to toe the party line. Going around criticizing the company’s product, no matter how well justified, will at least get you a reprimand if not dismissal You have to play office…

Going for Broke

Going for Broke Saying ‘no’ when Larry asked you to join a clandestine project was fraught with land mines, as you saw.  Is the answer to say ‘yes’? The pros and cons If you put together a pros and cons list, it might look like this: Pros of going for broke Cons of going for broke The project could be great career move. You’re violating your employment contract. Lots of people get to the top by breaking the rules. If you`re caught, you could be fired. The game could make you big money. Nothing comes of the project and it`s all risk, no pay-off. Your terms You think the pros outweigh the cons but want to square things with your conscience. You stipulate you`ll work on the project only on your own time and your own laptop. Meetings have to be off the premises. Larry agrees although his ` Aren’t you the stickler?` is more than a little mocking. At first, it goes well The game is very cool, with levels within levels and all kinds of weapons you can acquire through a complicated ritual. They’ve only done the opening sequence but you see the potential. This could be big….