Put It In Their Laps
(One of the 83 quick and practical life & work lessons from Sh*t Sandwich: Quick & Practical Success Lessons for Practically Anyone.)
The 4th Secret to Getting What You Want
Among the things I don’t miss about typical office life are the petty games and silos that are common when those above like to departmentalize everything. In these situations, there was always an issue getting another department to help my department attain our goals. (This can be especially frustrating when you’re running the sales department and you need cooperation in order to help the company achieve revenue and profit goals.)
Now sure what I mean? Well, have you ever tried to get the IT team or admin group to do anything other than what they felt was important? How did that work out for you?
The secret to getting other silos to work with your silo is not to attempt to break down the silos (that never works in reality), and it’s not to lob grenades into the other silos. No, the best way to get silos to help you accomplish your goals is to dump the duties in their lap. Make them “own” the issue and they will quickly find a solution.
The fourth secret is to put the ball in their court.
A customer of mine once tasked their sales team with creating manual workarounds in order to use my products for about two years. (All this, because their IT team could not be bothered to build a simple technology solution that would remove the need for manual data entry each time they needed to change something.) This posed some risk to their overall ability to control the use of my product; and ultimately, made the entire process extremely inefficient and prone to mistakes.
Due to a change in their sales team’s duties, and because my product was making so much money for the company, the sales team decided they could no longer create these manual workarounds, and that it was time for the IT team to do their jobs; so they dropped all the responsibility of implementing the manual workarounds into the laps of the technology group.
Initially, the IT team proceeded with the manual workarounds themselves (because they had already committed to not having the time to build the technology solution that would streamline everything). After three days and just nine manual entries, the IT team built the solution. In other words, they forced the sales team to endure over two years of manual workarounds (and the inherent errors that go along with these) because they had “other priorities.” Once the responsibility was theirs, they changed their tune and built the permanent fix… in three days!
Dump it in their laps and they will find a solution.
Give a man a fish; you feed him for a day. Strand some poor guy near a lake; he’ll figure out how to fish all on his own.