May 292012

I’ve spent a day dealing with a slightly difficult situation – something that ultimately is a performance management issue.

The party in question has what I like to call the “Hot Potato” management or coping technique.The issue on the table was this: “You have no real handle on your project finances and don’t provide the financial data the business needs to function effectively!”

The reply is a classic – “But, I’ve had so much Brocolli on this plate and look how I’ve dealt with that !” A classic attempt at diversion, but an ultimate admission that “I haven’t taken the time to understand what is important to my stakeholders”. An attempt to avoid the “hot potato” on the table and to try and diffuse the situation.

Well world – let me state categorically, right here, right now. IT DOESN’T WORK !

The issue under discussion remains, the practical challenges it causes remain. Avoidance is not a viable strategy!

I think it was Simon Sinek who said: “Being right doesn’t make you trustworthy. Being honest makes you trustworthy.” Being ‘Right’ or trying to justify why you didn’t address a vital, a critical, stakeholder need is an attempt at being ‘Right’, at justifying and excusing our own lack of delivery. Being honest, in my book, holds much more value. An “I don’t know, how can I fix it?” Could have saved the situation….!

So, I think, be Honest! What you don’t know, You don’t know! Also, take the time to understand, I mean really understand, what makes your stakeholders tick. If you don’t know that, you’ve lost the battle before it’s even begun!

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