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  What would you do with these cowboys?

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Author Topic:   What would you do with these cowboys?
Andy Bassett
Forum Contributor

Posts: 274
From:Donegal Ireland
Registered: Jun 1999

posted 28 June 2000 08:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Andy Bassett   Click Here to Email Andy Bassett     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Im not sure if this belongs on this site, but at least it will be a break from the usual ISO story.

Scenario

You are a consultant working on a fairly diverse Change Management Project involving a company with 250 people spread across 2 locations.

This company has many different problems, particularly at management level, and you elect to go ahead and do a climate survey to see what the employees feel.

The employees surprisingly say that...'the company has many different problems, particularly at management level..' . By far the worst score was Teamwork at Management level.

The employees are not unfairly waiting for a response from the management, and your initial discussions with the managers so far have revealed;
A. Manager A sympathises, but the problem sits with the other 2 managers.
B. Manager B cannot understand why Teamwork should be an issue at all. In his own words, if the others did what he told them there would be no problems and no need for teamwork (Honest, he said that).
C. Manager C derides the result (..they would say that wouldnt they..) and attempts to ignore it.

What would be your next step as the consultant involved?

------------------
Andy B

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Spaceman Spiff
Forum Contributor

Posts: 64
From:FL
Registered: Mar 99

posted 28 June 2000 10:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceman Spiff   Click Here to Email Spaceman Spiff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd get out, graciously of course. If management isn't willing or is blind to it, then there will be no culture change.

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Randy
Forum Wizard

Posts: 228
From:Barstow, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 1999

posted 28 June 2000 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randy   Click Here to Email Randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Keep taking the money, make suggestions for improvement utilizing the survey as evidence of need....and have a good laugh every night when you go home.

Also make sure you maintain good documentation to cover your butt.

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Marc Smith
Cheech Wizard

Posts: 4119
From:West Chester, OH, USA
Registered:

posted 28 June 2000 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I ued to agree with Spaceman. Now I agree with Randy. If you leave someone else will get the money. I start each project with a project plan and update it weekly - to protect myself. I also give status reports with 'road blocks' listed.

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Marc Smith
Cheech Wizard

Posts: 4119
From:West Chester, OH, USA
Registered:

posted 28 June 2000 11:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As I reread - well, for my next move I'd get together with top management and present the 'problem' for discussion.

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Kevin Mader
Forum Wizard

Posts: 575
From:Seymour, CT USA
Registered: Nov 98

posted 28 June 2000 01:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin Mader   Click Here to Email Kevin Mader     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suppose that this scenario isn't all that uncommon. In my limited experience, the situation worsens with the increased success of an organization.

Ethics aside, keep taking the paycheck in hopes that it might turn for the better. Worse case scenario: the laughs Randy points out, gained experience, and the bills paid.

Marc's comment on getting management together is a good idea, especially if you are trying to pull off this near miracle. It is the right thing to do, but will probably have limited positive impact. Lots of blame laying between managers A, B, and C and there is suggestion of the Caretaker's Syndrom as well. I am skeptical of the success a consultant will have.

Back to the group....

Kevin

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Randy
Forum Wizard

Posts: 228
From:Barstow, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 1999

posted 28 June 2000 02:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randy   Click Here to Email Randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Something like this can be fun. I've been playing the same game here for about 4 years with OSHA & EPA compliance, government contract management and the US Army (especially officers).

Come up with a good improvement plan to present and then do so. When the plan is rejected, give them the same plan again, but change the words around, break out a Thesaurus and get some other words, play buzz-word bingo with them. Invent words that you can hyphenate or string together. Let them see that you are really trying to do them a service and earn your pay.

Just always make sure that you are honest with your recommendations.

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Andy Bassett
Forum Contributor

Posts: 274
From:Donegal Ireland
Registered: Jun 1999

posted 29 June 2000 02:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Andy Bassett   Click Here to Email Andy Bassett     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all the comments.

In my heart i know you are all right, one of the things I notice about consulting as an independant is that it can be a little lonely.

I left full-time employment after 18 years with two blue chip companies mainly because i wanted more freedom to be able to develop companies properly and say what i want without fear of long-term reprisals.

If this is really my intention, then i should go back to the managers and harass them until they do something, or go back to a 9 til 5.

Actually what i notice is that a good consultant (internal or external) rarely supplies some magic expertise that nobody else in the company has. Instead he/she is relied upon to supply bags of motivation, a can-do attitude and a terrier like approach to difficult problems. Although this annoys the managers in the short-term they seem to respect you more in the long-term.

How i plan to deal with this is request a meeting to discuss a process problem involving the planning and launching of projects. I hope to be able to deal with the issues of 'management teamwork' without actually mentioning the word teamwork itself.

Ill let you know what happens

------------------
Andy B

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John C
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Posts: 134
From:Cork City, Ireland
Registered: Nov 98

posted 29 June 2000 07:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John C   Click Here to Email John C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Andy,
All problems are management problems.
If your 3 managers could see that they were the cause of problem, and could deal with it, they wouldn't need you. But, since they can't see it, they will resist your attempts to solve it.
I suggest you stick with the challenge, because it is the universal one and worthy of your efforts. But, you won't succeed by attacking it head on. First, you should find out what the 3 managers see as the main problems, write them down and get their approval to address them. Then, wherever you trace the basic causes back to the 3, start drip feeding them the solutions in such a way that they think they figured it out themselves.
In my experience, if you tell a manager that he/she is doing things wrong, he'll shoot you down but, if you tell them a good idea, they'll steal it, so it shouldn't be too difficult. When it's all over, getting them to accept that you were the catalyst, might be your final challenge. That's when you pull out your list of goals, collect your money and then tell them how you did it.
rgds, John C

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Claes Gefvenberg
Forum Contributor

Posts: 23
From:Sweden
Registered: May 2000

posted 30 June 2000 02:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Claes Gefvenberg   Click Here to Email Claes Gefvenberg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll have to ask one question:

Why on earth did they hire you? That they in fact did so would indicate that they realize that a problem exists.

It's their problem if they can't accept your findings. Your problem may be to protect your bottom long enough to be able to get through to them.

The defensive screen they put up indicates that they probably know deep down that you're right. Facing the fact is another story.

/Claes Gefvenberg

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