Differing Orders—Refuse the Project?
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / November 11, 2019

Differing Orders—Refuse the Project? The CEO of your company encouraged working across silos, but your boss Sean has a differing view. In the last post, you asked Sean’s permission to go ahead with a cross-silo project. He was either angry or gave you a chance. Problem is you don’t know which one it will be before the fact. Wouldn’t it be best to avoid undertaking the project completely, given you know that Sean is lukewarm to the idea? What kind of risk are you taking in asking about differing orders? You presumably know Sean to some extent. You’ve seen his reaction in other situations. Does he fly off the handle when things don’t go his way, or stay calm? Does he allow differing views on his orders, or do you know not to question him? These and other indicators can give you some predictive power on his reaction to broaching the cross-silo project. Pay attention. Should you assume the worst? If, after this assessment, you’re pretty sure that he’ll go ballistic, you’d be wise to keep your head down. But what if the risk doesn’t seem so extreme? What if he might go for it? In this case, I’d encourage…

Incompatible Orders—Ask Your Boss?
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / November 4, 2019

Incompatible Orders—Ask Your Boss? Your CEO (Danvers) gave a rousing speech about breaking down silos which seemed incompatible with your boss Sean’s views. In the last post, you and your buddy Ethan from another section decided to go ahead with a cross-silo project. Sean did not react well. Given this, should you have asked him first even though you think he would have said no? Let’s see what happens. Asking your boss about incompatible orders even if he’s kind of a shit Sean: What did I tell you after the staff meeting? You: You said to keep working— Sean: Exactly—just work on the projects I assign you. You: But what about the CEO— Sean: (makes a disgusted noise) These mucky-mucks don’t know what they’re talking about. The trick is to keep your head down until they go haring off after another great idea. You: But if she really wants to change things— Sean: I’ll tell you if you need to change anything. You: Ah, okay. So you’ve asked and as you’ve feared, Sean has vetoed the idea without even giving you a chance to explain. You’re discouraged and Sean is probably pissed off that you questioned his original order. If…

Contradictory Orders—Follow the Big Boss?
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / October 28, 2019

Contradictory Orders—Follow the Big Boss?   In the last post, you went to an inspiring all-staff meeting where the CEO, Ms. Danvers, encouraged everyone to work across silos to create greater team work. You think it’s a great idea although your boss Sean seems to be giving off contradictory vibes. But your buddy Ethan from another unit (silo) of the company is also enthusiastic and suggests you work together on a great new app. You really believe in the CEO’s message so you agree to start work on the project. For the next couple of weeks, you work hard on it and you’re getting excited about its potential. It’s taken more time than anticipated but you figure with one last push, you’ll at least have a demo. You can imagine the CEO using your work and Ethan’s as an example of cross-silo teamwork The potential downside of following the CEO’s contradictory orders   However, at the beginning of the third week, Sean leans over your cubicle wall. Sean: Hey, Ange, I was expecting the Houston redesign on Friday. What’s up? You: Oh, sorry, Sean, it’s taking longer than expected. I should have it to you by the end of the…

Conflicting Orders
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / October 21, 2019

Conflicting Orders You can get into trouble when the big boss is saying one thing and your immediate boss is giving conflicting orders. Let’s look at the following situation. You’ve just come from an all-staff meeting. The CEO seems great. She’s all fired up about a new approach to teamwork which encourages employees to work across silos to share expertise and resources. You’re eager to give it a try. Your boss and co-worker have conflicting views You’re walking back from the meeting with your boss, Sean.   You: Boy, that was a great, don’t you think? Sean: Yeah, sure, Angela. You: I mean, we need to break down silos across the company. Sean: I guess so. You: So what do you think we should be doing? Sean: I think you should keep doing what you’re doing. You: But Ms Danvers— Sean: Yeah, same old, same old.   Back at your cubicle, you’re a little nonplussed. Sean is usually quite a good guy. Maybe he just got out of the wrong side of the bed. Your office neighbor (Lori) comes back to her desk. Even a colleague does You: What did you think of the meeting? Lori: That Danvers—she can really…

Conflicting Orders—Refuse the Project
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / September 11, 2017

Conflicting Orders—Refuse the Project In the last post, you asked your boss Sean’s permission to go ahead with a cross-silo project. He was either angry or gave you a chance. Problem is you don’t know which one it will be before the fact. Wouldn’t it be best to avoid undertaking the project completely, given you know that Sean is lukewarm to the idea? What kind of risk are you taking? You presumably know Sean to some extent. You’ve seen his reaction in other situations. Does he fly off the handle when things don’t go his way, or stay calm? Does he allow push-back on his orders, or do you know not to question him? These and other indicators can give you some predictive power on his reaction to broaching the cross-silo project. Pay attention. Should you assume the worst? If, after this assessment, you’re pretty sure that he’ll go ballistic, you’d be wise to keep your head down. But what if the risk doesn’t seem so extreme? What if he might go for it? In this case, I’d encourage asking, not just for the sake of the project. Being afraid to even raise an issue can lead to an unhealthy…