For a couple of months now there has been a situation at my office, a lack of clarity around how certain projects should proceed. The (all male) sewing circle of managers, Directors, Executive Directors, Senior Vice Presidents, have pussy footed around the issue. Discussing it here and there, the options, the choices and not agreeing, then adjourn with no decisions. This, of course, has no impact on their days, only on the days of the people who do the actual work. Did I mention months this has been discussed? Months.
Finally yesterday there was a meeting where one of these master minds finally asked the people who do the work what they think, then gave them an action item of writing up a proposal. Yes, he did it because he thought the proposal would be close to what he wanted and yes, he took advantage of the fact that one of the other management types with a different opinion had a conflict for this meeting, but he let the people speak. So the people (both women) agreed on a proposal, wrote it up in under an hour and sent it out. What happened? The management type who asked for the proposal responded, saying this is great. Then all the boy management types responded in kind, saying it was great and everyone agreed. Sunshine, rainbows and unicorns ensued.
And the two ladies thought: what the what? Oh, yeah.. management types.
Yes, it was all political theatre, yes only one male management type got what he wanted, yes the people who do the work got what they wanted, and yes, it was a monumental waste of time. What are the lessons? That it takes two ladies to get something done? That male management types have too much testosterone to stay out of their own way? I’d like to think the male management types saw the very clearly laid out proposal as the message it intended: stop fucking around and let’s get some shit done, but I’m not optimistic they will remember the incident for more than a day. On to the next battle.. insert war cry.