Archive for August 16, 2011

Managing upwards

August 16, 2011

Do they really care about your project?To err is human; to blame it on someone else shows management potential.

Perhaps a little unfair on the huge number of expert managers out there, but this simple sentence nicely sums up a recent situation I found myself in which I’d like to share.  It may be a trifling matter in the grand scheme of things, but I’ve learnt some valuable lessons along the way, and a problem shared and all that…

Picture the scene: a young, bright eyed officer is tasked with setting up a borough-wide project involving senior managers from across the Council and every service area.  Brimming with excitement, she is then brought back down to earth a little by being told that she has just three weeks to go from nothing to completion.

Undeterred, our brave and intrepid officer begins her journey towards success:  research and benchmarking is done, case studies are sought and a plan emerges from the shadows.  Meetings are booked, including the first one with a very senior officer more than a few rungs up on the treacherous corporate ladder.

The meeting is a great success; in fact almost too successful.  The senior officer backs the project wholeheartedly, sharing that they have been involved in near identical enterprises in the past and know exactly what to do.  They and their own team have all of the information to hand along with the relationships with others to complete the job, so effectively agree to do the work.  This is noted, agreed and shook upon, whereupon our officer leaves them to it. (more…)