I just got promoted to a managerial position and was put into one of the biggest and highly political projects of my 40.000 person company. I tried the "results and relationships" so far, but I just discovered how actively everyone is blaming the others behind their backs. How do I protect myself and do I need to play along? Protocol everything and send mistakes of others to my boss (that's what other managers involved are doing).
Thanks for your suggestions

JonathanGiglio's picture

Focus on your team and focus on what you can control.
Your source of influence diminishes in ever greater concentric circles around your own desk.
Master the fundamentals and get your team into tip top shape.

Interesting though - why would a first time manager be promoted to "the biggest and highly political project"? Is everything screwed up and they need fresh blood or are you being setup to take a fall? Are you the only one who can do this or have you demonstrated outsized success as an individual contributor?

Can we get more details? Because, remember - what got you here won't get you there.

Good luck! Embrace the challenge!

Trashbox's picture

I am not heading this program (150 people and a budget of 50 Mio over 3 years) but am leading a part of it (~15).

My bosses boss is heading the program and there is a lot of his staff involved in the program. I switched from another department 9 months ago.

Unfortunately, in my last role, I had a showdown with the most important vendor currently involved. Roughly 70% of the personnel in the current project  is from them.

In addition, the program has not delivered a lot of tangible results so far and people are beginning to be stressed out.

Now I see people building up fences and starting to blame each other

Kevin1's picture

Ahhh, the love of collaboration.

As for playing along, I suggest the guidance in casts like Don't Drop a Dime, and How to Handle Public Disagreement would be a good place to start. You can tread the fine line between disagreeing and throwing people under the bus v's getting walked over.

Good luck.
Kind regards

Trashbox's picture

Thanks Kev for the suggestions. Would you have some recommendations regarding the "getting walked over" part?

JonathanGiglio's picture

Can you talk to your boss about your concerns? Can you reset expectations?

Boss: It appears this project is not going according to plan. And plans seldom last the moment they hit the battlefield. What can we expect to accomplish here? What does success look like considering where we are at? What would be our stretch goals?

As for not getting walked over - the Don't drop a dime is a great podcast. Just be upfront with those who aren't delivering. "Hey Bill, on Tuesday at the staff meeting I'm going to have to report that you're Yellow trending Red instead of Green. I know you own the inputs here - do you need help or what actions will you take to change this status?"

Kevin1's picture

There is a cast called Dealing with people who don't pull their weight which together with Don't Drop a Dime work well together.  Jonathan makes some good points.  Try to talk about what WE can achieve from where we are today, rather than why we got into the messy situation we are in.  Find what are the shared objectives and start by getting agreement on what we are all trying to achieve.  Now, how can we make that happen?  What's preventing us from making it happen?  What are everyone's concerns?  What are the obstacles and how can we overcome them?  

Document what's going on.  Go back to basics.  Who is doing what by when?  Have really short tasks with short deadlines.  1 or 2 days.   If they miss, get a new deadline that is shorter than the previous time frame allocated.  Do a weekly report for management.  Let people know you will be doing a status update.  Give them time and warning that you will be reporting a miss unless something progresses.

Hope that helps.

Kind regards