Terms of Endearment

Actually the term I am thinking off is far from ‘endearment’ but let me avoid naming it for a minute ‘cos it is a pretty loaded term at this point.

Here’s the behaviors I observe in my current work:

  • When help is needed from another team I ask my manager and they ask the other persons manager and the other persons manager then directs the other employee to do the work
  • When I disagree with someone on another team I let them know what my position is and who I work for and tell them that they will have to contact my manager if they disagree with my decisions
  • When I can’t make a deadline I will identify the team or person that is blocking me so that my boss knows about it and can take action
  • Periodically management will need to send a ‘clear message’ to the team about what their priorities should be.  Often done in an urgent fashion generating fear

The one thing you don’t see here is any mention that management is using command and control.  Also there is no mention of whether the manager is deeply involved in the conversations or just watching from the sidelines.

What can be said however is that the command and control is clearly taking place and to a large part due to the employee enabling their manager.  By asking the boss to ‘fix things’ instead of asking to (and being able to) work directly with the other employee a huge amount of non-essential work emerges, often including backlogs that are weeks long (even if the current request is simple to do), and all the trapping of command and control and the politics that naturally come with it.

This is why part of a new culture needs to be people asking other people directly for help without groups hiding behind the shields of SAFe, Ticket systems like ServiceNow, CommSec or whatever process is used to create lags.  The lags can easily end up taking 99% of the elapsed time to address the need.  This defeats the ability to go faster and without that the business is in jeopardy.

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