Monday, February 14, 2011

Which will you choose - the 2 step or 4 step?

When it come to being a messenger - we all should receive a Kevlar vest.

So you have bad news - you feel that the upper management will not like to hear about it.  Here are two options.

The Harvard Business Review recommends
a simple 4 step process:
  1. Describe. Provide a general overview of the problem, and explain the impact. Be sure to position this in terms of what matters to your manager. 
  2. Identify a solution. Recommend a specific solution or approach, along with alternatives. 
  3. Analyze your solution. Share the pros and cons and explain the implications. Be prepared to discuss the risks or barriers that may be of concern to your boss. 
  4. Accept responsibility. Let your manager know that you are willing to take the responsibility for the outcome of your proposed approach. 


Or you could use the Two Step:
  1. Lift carpet. Find somewhere to put the problem out of sight - out of mind. 
  2. Sweep. Keep sweeping the problem out of the bosses sight line. 

Which is going to be the easiest.  I question which method will become the de facto standard if some other forces are not at play.  What might those other forces be?  What is culture but the de facto standard forces?

What would happen if your management gave you a 3rd option?  Simpler than the first two options.

Just make it Visible.

Simple - one step process.  Then we decide what to do.  We use group processes to identify multiple solutions before converging to "the one solution."

Scrum tries this simple one step process - they call it an impediment.

The Responsibility Process.  Excerpt Pg 27 section: Control the Sail, Not the Wind
“Control the sail, not the wind” — which is a great summary for the concept of personal responsibility. Those six words raise the challenge that we don’t always get to determine the many forces that affect out experiences; however, we do individually choose whether and how to navigate those forces.
History leaves us with hundreds, maybe thousands, of maxims, principles, and pithy quotes on performance, success, leadership, and happiness. Take the “control the sails, not the wind” quip. It is a shortened and more direct version of no fewer than three other quotes. Inspirational author William Arthur Ward wrote, “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjust the sails.” Country-music singer turned breakfast sausage entrepreneur Jimmy Dean said, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” And entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker Jim John gave us this: “It is the set of the sail, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”
We can trace these sailing metaphors back nearly two millennia to the first century Greek-speaking Stoic philosopher Epictetus who is widely quoted as saying, “It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters.” Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar and a host of others changed Epictetus’ react to respond as in “it’s how you respond that matters.” Many are fond of saying responsibility is the ability to respond, response-ability. We may not always be in charge of what happens to us, but we can always choose our response.
The Responsibility Process - Unlocking Your Natural Ability to LIVE and LEAD with POWER.
By Christopher Avery

One of the great things about learning to sail on a small boat is the imeadate feedback one can receive about their decisions.  The sail is a big visible indicator of your decisions and of what you think about your directions, the winds directions and the balance of your boat.  The tipsiness of a small boat allows one to learn rather quickly to sense and integrate many many inputs that are in constant flux.  Interestingly enough most adults learning to sail wish to short cut the beginner phase of learning to sense and get on a big boys boat.  All this does is reduce the feedback, enhance the stress, increase the risk (crashing that $150K boat into the fuel dock is costly) and slow the learning process.  They should accept that they need to start at the beginning - that $200 12 foot sunfish.

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