On my way to work this morning I began listenig to the "High C Manager Simple Downfall".  As I drove down the interstate, I found myself getting antsy as M&M describe a lot of my behaviors.  It was very insightful and re-affirmed that I really need to take the DISC test.

There is one item that I'm not sure how to handle.  In the podcast, Mark had said not to give the improvements even when you see things will end up a bit messy.  Part of me agrees with this, as I've learned more from messes my bosses let me create than my successes.  On the other hand, if my boss sees that I could have prevented the "mess" and did not, I would be standing in very hot water.

I realize we have to gauge severity and exposure, but as a Service Desk Manager I also realize that each interaction with our customers is very critical.  One "oh no" can wipe out months of work on chaning the perception of the team to the customer.  Unfortunately, everyone in this company also seems to be very escalation proned.  Any issues that come up and any push back, the individuals tend to escalate to their Director or VP.

Can anyone provide further clarification or guidance? 

cruss's picture
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I understand how you feel. I felt the same way listening to this Podcast. I had thought that they had been watching me while preparing it. I have found that the more "uncomfortable" I am with Mike and Mark's suggestions, the more important it that I follow them. At the end of the podcast I was wondering if they really said "let your direct make mistakes when you can prevent them." or even worse "Implement every idea you are presented with, exactly as it is presented." I was horrified.

I then reminded myself of Horstman's 8th and 5th Laws (Available here)

8th: The “Other” Way Often Works Just Fine

5th: The River is Wide, the Currents are Messy, but all the Water Ends up in the Ocean

I think this connects with the fact that any plan evolves as it is flushed out and implemented. As Mark says, you will have time to tweak and shape the plan later. I don't think he is suggesting you let anyone to run off a cliff or waste huge sums of money. I think that he is recomending you focus on the fact you were presented an idea. Then you can give your direct the oportunity to find the problems. They may even find some you didn't see. You will have time to influence it.

Just don't kill the next great idea by "fixing" the current one.

Canyon R

mmann's picture
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If you must give an improvement, give it in a separate meeting.  Take time before that meeting to really think about the improvement you'll be bringing up.  If you have multiple improvements, edit.  Go into the meeting confident that you're providing your insight for the sole purpose of keeping the effort from crashing and burning.  If the purpose is to show how smart you are, or to add polish to an idea that's already brilliant... skip it.

I have a visual that goes along with this:  The dog walks away believing he's improved the value of the fire hydrant.


jay2k's picture

Thank you both for your posts, very helpful.  Particularly, I had to chuckle at MMann's last line!

denisagiles's picture

To touch on practicing avoiding the 'C' downfall. My other free time is spent doing Photography. I have joined the online community Flickr where I can post my photos and comment on others. To practice only positive comments when viewing work, I regularly look at other photos and only comment on what I like about the photo, in as much detail as I can. This helps them improve and hopefully I'll get an encouraging comment back.

Although it is not a work environment example, I have found it has helped to see the positive in other's work.

jhack's picture

Here's another way to look at it:

If you spend your time doing their job, who's doing yours?  Rather than intervening to prevent escalations, work to improve the escalation process.  

Improving processes and overall performance is your job.   Coaching your people is your job.  Do those well, and you might find new opportunities opening up.  Keep doing your directs' job, and that'll be your job for quite some time to come.  

John Hack

Singers's picture

As a high C having listened to this cast there's a lot of good stuff in there, some of the things I was aware of already. However the big one for me is still "The “Other” Way Often Works Just Fine" While i'm aware of this it takes time to change, I first sort of realised it when i got into leading, as good delegation requires you to accept things "not the way you would have done them!", but I still struggle, specielly in meetings not to suggest more "improvements" to ideas and correct other people. 

If I had done Disc 5 years ago it would have been closer to 2-2-2-12, but my D & I side have gone up big time during the last couple of years, mainly due to being aware and "acting" the skills, while it doesnt feel natural you get used to it and it becomes the way you do thing and specially networking is now one of my very strong skills and something there's "in demand" around me (IT org.)

Anyone else have any tips or idea's how to "stop" yourself correcting people etc? Being aware is extremly helpful, but it takes time to change behavior.

Kind Regards

Mads Sorensen

Disc 5526

thebeezer's picture
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As a high-C manager in a Service Desk, I can empathize with your reaction to the podcast and your challenges, as they are ones I face as well.  What I've found is that I get more buy-in and better results if rather than suggest improvements, I ask questions about the concerns that I have.  For example, rather than suggesting to add a step to a process to close the loop with the customer, ask how the customer will know that the issue is supposed to be fixed (especially if it isn't). 

This accomplishes several goals:

  • more likely to get solutions better than you would have thought of (I'm slowly realizing this does happen even to high-Cs :D)
  • more buy-in to the solution decided
  • gets people thinking about considering these types of things on other items you're not involved in
  • your people spend more time fixing the issues they see rather than bringing you issues

Since we probably share similar challenges, please don't hesitate to PM me as we can probably help each other a great deal!