Thursday, April 1, 2010

Anyone can say NO!

Ever notice that as the environment gets larger and less flat, the "NO" thing gets pushed further down? It was certainly the case for me when I worked as a program manager in DoD. Responsibility flows downward easily, but not authority. It seems to get stuck at the top. Authority is where "YES" is; responsibility is where "NO" is. Way downward, almost anyone can say NO, and the thing stops there. Hardly anyone can say YES, and they are all out of reach much of the time working in the upper reaches of the organization.

What if you're project is being held up by the NO people? How do you move it along to the YES crowd? Carefully! is one answer. Afterall, you probably have to live with the NO set, or at least, they will be back for a second bite at the apple some other time.

Workflow may be another answer, although the NO set seem to have a way to stand at the nodes of workflow and stop things dead in the tracks.

But the fact is, many times, there is no way but to march up the top and make your case. And, most of the time, you will earn the respect of the YES types, put a bit of fear in the NO set, and be known as a person who can get things done!

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