Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Practical Wisdom

Yesterday I felt shamed because my business manager, say Peter, was disappointed with the way I handled my review: I had communicated to him there was an expected buget overrun. He did not like the story. The business manager that got reviewed with me, let's name him Homer, had a different emotional response: he became angry.
In my personal experience I have reviewed Homer myself, and I know what Peter means. Homer is great for motivating people, getting the impossible done (and circumventing the rules) but at times you get a feeling he is not really with you.

Homer in his turn is a free spirit, who mistrusts authority. His youth has tought him that authority is often used without attention to detail, and with consiiderable bias. This is also where his anger was coming from: he accuses Peter of bias because he did not like the message. The second charateristic of Homer is that he does not like conflict: it hampers his positive outlook on life.
So, what is wisdom? From a moral perspective I agree with Peter. It is unwritten law in management not to herald with budget overruns, unless it was agreed beforehand. For Homers personal development it is imperative he gets around the conflict issue, and learn there is a difference between conflict and being clear. From my own perspective I do not feel it is my responsibility to keep Homer in check. I greatly dislike being my brother's keeper. But Peter did explicitely ask me to do this for him. And I have agreed to the job. So I am morally bound.
So, what is next? I need to tell Homer what the rules are and that I urge him to get his act together. Before I do that I must listen to him and make sure there are no hidden reserves or mental disclaimers that will make him feel legitimised to act off topic. I will know if I have reached my objective if he agrees to a profoundd review on all our project managers, and a storyline that supports the premise that all has been done that is humanly possible, before asking for a budget overrun. As to the setting: I have a choice between a private setting and our management team meeting. Because of time issues it will have to be the latter. Not the best setting to teach someone responsibility. I will try and tackle him beforehand.


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