Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Perfect Employee

The first rule of working with me was outlined last week under Greeley's Guideline .  I like that one. It's all-encompassing.

The second rule of working with me is more of a sub-adage. A request. A manner of operation. It has no pithy name, so I'll call it "Set it and forget it," which somehow invokes a crock pot. But still.

Here's the basic goal:  If I make a list of things that need doing. Or you make a list of things that need doing. Or we both make a list of things. And then we put little names next to each item, associating a person with each; then, I hope that you trust me to deliver my list and I trust you to deliver your list according to the set timeline, barring any surprises, which are covered under Greeley's Guideline. 

To achieve this blissful state, a few things need to occur:

a) Both people have to be competent note takers
b) The notepad must not disappear into the bottom of a backpack in the interim. The list is the contract, and thus it must remain reference-able.
c) Prior to declaring victory over the list, each person must double check to ensure no balls have been dropped.
d) The killer step: There has to be enough trust to not double check the other person's list.

As someone who has literally been double checking people's lists for days, I am longing for this type of working relationship. Worse, while D is the killer step in positive motion, if C is missed often enough, it actually creates MORE neurotic list checking, since who knows what might have been dropped. It creates paranoia, suspicion, and a negative working relationship. It erodes trust.

Truth is, if someone comes to you and says "I have done items 1-5 of the list, 6 is in process, and 7-9 wont happen," then I'm comfortable that they have executed C correctly. You don't have to complete your list to complete your side of the bargain. You simply have to know exactly where you are on the list at all times, and not misrepresent any progress. 

I admit, I'm a neurotic listmaker. I hate forgetting things and dropping balls and all that stuff. It makes me very nervous. Lists give me comfort. But, when I have 10 pages of list in front of me, I assure you, I don't want to manage yours too. 

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