Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Greeley's Guideline

I thought this was a repost. I searched the TC archives. And now, I'm surprised, ironically, that I haven't ranted about this before. 

I have only ONE rule of management. My fiance accuses me regularly of loving rules, and I probably do. But, there are a few domains where I feel simplicity is key. Parenting is one of them. Management is another. 

I read in an excellent blog that I've since misplaced about the single parenting rule being "Is that behavior Safe, Respectful and Kind?" If so, then, eh, whatevers. If not, it must stop right away. It appeals to my desire for straightforward, clean guidelines. I'm sure things are much more complex in practice, but I have at least one friend (shout out, G!) that uses this rule effectively in her house. 

Similarly, I have one rule of management - and avid-reader-Molson can attest to this. I learned it from my mentor and friend, Greeley. The single solitary rule of management is this:

Do not surprise me.

See? It's that easy. Don't hold on to information in the hopes that the problem will go away. Do not hide the truth from me. Do not let me find out from a customer, client, manager, or janitor. If something is important, share it with me as soon as you know. Together, with all the time we have left, we will do our best to fix it. 

Greeley taught me this rule when I was 21. I was working with a client at the time who was so angry with me and my lack of acquiescence to the most ludicrous web design edit you could imagine (which, at the time, was probably something like a single-value radio button or something) She was hopping mad. Screaming mad. I had her on the phone, cursing up a storm. When the call was over, I grabbed a soda and calmed my nerves and hoped it would all go away. Of course, it didn't, and my boss, Greeley, got a similarly incensed call shortly thereafter. 

When he called me into his office he told me one thing:  

Lilac, if you'd talked to me right after that heated conversation, I would have seen this coming, known your side, and been better able to defend you. 

I had created a situation where he was surprised. In a state of surprise, he was unable to fix the problem as he might have with greater notice. He wasn't mad at me for agitating the client - he was mad at me for putting him in that position.

I wish I could get that one rule embroidered on a pillow, painted on a wall, and tattooed on my forehead. Thank you, Greeley. Thank you.  

1 comment:

Priya said...

you definitely haven't posted this before. i learned this one under similar circumstances to you, but i still forget it.