October 8, 2007

Today, the CEO of the company called a lunchtime meeting for all employees in our marketing and consulting office.  The topic that was to be discussed was the effectiveness and importance of another mundane system of checks and balances that have been recently implemented into our workplace.  The system is an organizing strategy where a person makes a list of the 6 most important things they have to do for each day, gives an estimated timeline for each, and then e-mails it to the CEO so that she is aware of all the projects going on.  It is essentially a marketing gimmick that the has fallen for, but essentially swears by its effectiveness.  Lately, nobody has really been participating.  Namely because nobody really has the time to sit down in the morning and effectively divide their day up into 6 parts.  First off, most of us typically have more than 6 things to do each day.  Sometimes, we have less.  Nine times out of ten, if we do make the list, most of us do not even get through half of it, or even follow the timeline that is estimated.  Why?  Because most of us are reactive.  We have tasks in mind to try to get through each day, but there will always be something that gets in the way of that, and there is typically nothing we can do but adjust.  Not only that, but most people in the office feel that it is just another way for the CEO to check on what we are doing with our days.  In my opinion, if she has that much of an issue with trust, then perhaps she should just clean out the office and hire employees that she actually trusts.  When you try to force that kind of control on a person, they will typically not react in a positive manner.  Well, all issues aside, our CEO realized that we were not on board with this new system, and decided to meet with all of us to discuss its potential effectiveness, and to get feedback on how we think it is working, or how it can be changed to work more effectively.  One would think, with the way group dynamics typically work, we would have the upper hand, and would be able to eventually persuade our CEO to see our way.  However, she is already the authoritative figure, and is not likely to be swayed.  A second problem with this is that one of us may speak up, but the others, for fear of repercussion, may not say a word.  Then, it becomes a problem for the sole person that chose to speak up about what bothered the entire group.  Likely, the second one would be what would happen.  It isn’t so much that the workers are afraid to speak up, though – realistically, it is a combination of the two problems.  We all know that, regardless of what we say, our CEO will not listen to our reason.  We also know that, if faced with an ambush, she will react negatively.  So, the best way we decided was to have 2 or 3 people speak up and positively explain issues that are taking place, with logical solutions.  One coworker started off by explaining how it helped him, but then pointed out major issues with the system.  I spoke up after him, and gave an explanation that, theoretically, it should be a working system, but in reality it has just become more of a burden and an assignment, rather than an aid.  Before the third person even had a chance to speak up, our CEO thanked us, and said ‘those were good suggestions, but let’s focus more on the positive aspects of the system, rather than just focusing on the bad.’  It was with this statement that we all realized that she never intended to hear us out to begin with.  So, nobody else said a word.  We soon were excused from the meeting, having improved nothing, compromised on nothing, and only accomplished even more wasted time.  In the future, we have decided just to nod and smile, and move along with her mundane tasks, because resisting just takes too much time out of the day.   

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