“I’ve got a lot of things on my plate right now, but let me be clear: I’m not going to stand in the way of what the business wants to do.”
I’ve been told this many times before. In the early days of trying to create alignment for initiatives that are important to our strategy, I would have taken it as a sign of support. Instead, I translate it into what this same person would say to her boss about this same subject.
“Michael came and talked to me about [Awesome Initiative]. (Sigh) He says it’s going to really change things for us. Are we really going to waste our time with this crap or are we going to serve our customers? I’ll do whatever, but fair warning: this project has ‘disaster’ written all over it, and you won’t get that feature you’ve been asking for either, you can kiss that goodbye for this year.”
That’s quite a different story, isn’t it?
So how to respond? I’ve been tempted in the past to write people off and try to do it anyways. I’ve found over the years though that this is a mistake, because a sufficiently motivated individual can and will destroy your project if they don’t feel listened to.
I’ve found that the keys are respect and empathy. [Read more…]