Getting Along Can Do You In—The Need for Harmony

Getting Along Can Do You In—The Need for Harmony The need for harmony Having harmony in your working life is a good thing, as is a harmonious personal life. It is stressful, unpleasant, and even injurious to your health to work in tension or conflict. A group which gets along is usually more productive. However, the need for harmony can sometimes be so overwhelming that everything else goes out the window—such as being innovative, avoiding failure, or telling the truth. Let’s use the example below to explore this. Missing data The executive group reviews the strategic plan annually. You supervise putting together the report. You research trends, gather data, and model different scenarios for the plan. Your meeting with Jean, your employee You: Jean, have you seen how Megan’s company did their report? I like it. I think we should use it this year. Jean: Hey, we took over Megan’s company. She should do it our way. You: We should use what’s best from both. Jean: (Silence) You: Anyhow, because Megan is with us, we can spread out the work. Jean: She’s three hours behind us. It’ll be impossible to work together. You: There’s a way it might. You like…

I Sent the Truth

I Sent the Truth In the last post, you sent in a progress report projecting a six-week overrun rather than the three months likely. But you may have set yourself up as the fall guy. Another option you had originally was to send the real report with the three month problem. What would have happened if you sent the truth? Your team will probably be pleased. “Now those guys will get that we need more time.” More importantly, you’ve been honest. It’s bad news but it’s the straight goods. Your boss’ reaction Rhonda: I got the report. … weren’t you a little pessimistic? You: Rhonda, I’ve reviewed the numbers every which way to Sunday. Rhonda: But a whole quarter behind! You: We can recoup with the second half money. Rhonda: They won’t give it to you— it’s throwing good money after bad. You: But the mitigation strategies will work! Rhonda: Trevor (her VP) has to see the report. Think about it. I won’t send it until the end of the day. You sit back when she’s gone. She couldn’t have been clearer if she`d drawn a map. She wants a lower projected overrun. Your stomach starts to churn. The afternoon…

The Requirement to Lie

The Requirement to Lie  There is some topsy-turvyness about lying and work. As I’ve said previously, the benefits of the lie are not to be sneezed at. If you balance the seriousness of the lie and the possible downsides of the truth, I’m not surprised if you might opt for the lie. In this post, I’m not talking about whether you should lie but how it affects your career prospects. You’re golden if you do In the previous situation, your boss was in a pickle and you got her out of it. You took one for the team by lying about the projection in order to secure the second half money. You saved the project as well as everybody’s jobs, including hers and yours. She sees you as a team player. So, curiously, you’re considered more trustworthy because your boss knows she can rely on you to lie when the chips are down. This is loyalty and loyalty is promotable. You’re dog meat if you don’t Similarly, if you don’t lie, you’re less trusted. Who knows what you might do in a similar situation? You might freakishly march to your own tune rather than the company’s (or at least your…

I Sent a Deception

I Sent a Deception In the previous post, you prepared a progress report projecting a six week cost overrun rather than the three months likely. This is so the executive committee will give you the second half money to get you back on track. You push the send button to give the report to your boss, Rhonda, to present to the committee, even though it is a deception. What happens if you push the SEND button? With your boss It is as if Rhonda has been at her desk waiting because, in less than half an hour, you get, “Just read the report. Excellent. Thanks for the hard work.” With your team “Thanks for the work,” you say to Becky. “Rhonda’s really happy.” Becky doesn’t make eye contact. “Sure,” she says before she rushes past. You can just imagine her scuttling to her pal Lionel’s office to spill the beans. Don’t they know I’m doing it for them? They’d be out on their ears except for me. You toy with letting them know what you’ve done and why. But can you trust them not to spread it far and wide? If they do, the wrong person might hear and tank…

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,…