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Friday, August 29, 2014

People, Process, Resistance, Management

     The manager said to me, wistfully, "If it weren't for the people, this job would be perfect." He was responsible for the work of nine people.
     The problem was, of course, that the people WERE the job. The process he was conducting did not exist without the nine people. The manager was superb as an individual user of the system, but not as a leader of the people.
     This made for a tough place to work. A perfectionist in charge of people whose presence, in his mind, messed up his beloved process.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Big Project: My Career

     The nurse was showing the newborn to the daddy. “It’s a manager!” she was saying, much as we would announce, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!”
     It was a cartoon I saw a long time ago, but the effect lingers in the mind. We operate too often on the apparent assumption that our work performance and professional position are not really up to us.
    Whatever came with us at birth, or has been given to us since by the wisdom and goodwill of others, is what we have for a job, seems like. We credit happenstance or lucky chance more than our own conscious effort.
     I’ve known a few people who didn’t buy that concept. All of them have been admirable . . . and successful.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How We Delegate

     The boss sent me to a car dealership to collect an overdue debt.
     You know, of course, that you are not in the presence of na├»vete when you’re at the car showroom. In this case, it also was not helpful that my purpose was to get the manager to part with cash for a service whose value had long since faded into a bygone time. The guy owed us for newspaper advertising we had published much earlier.
     Needless to say, I came back emptyhanded. “Well,” said the boss, “Did you ask them for use of a car, then?”