Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tiny and Gamo, Part II

There was more "chatter" in comments on the last post than on any essay in recent history.  I think it may have touched a nerve.

Developing a plan

Good plans are like good journalism:  They encompass the elements of: "Who", "What", "How", "Where", "When", "Why". The Tiny and Gama story is entertaining but I think its greater value is in noodling out how Chris developed his plan.

Having known Chris, I doubt that his intention was to bury Adam.  Mostly, he had a mission.  He wanted to be successful.  He wanted to stop the undeserved butt whippings.

Chris probably asked himself, "What is the most effective action that I can do (or direct) to get this product built?".  Standard practice had been to make a big show of making your guys look busy...especially when they were not.  That way the supervisor could always fall back on the argument, "But boss, my guys were working their asses off the whole time....what more could I do?"

Chris concluded that dedicating a team to help "expedite" the part would be of more value than looking busy.  That conclusion triggered a whole round of similar questions:  "'Who' are the most effective people to assign to this team?"  "'When' are the most effective time windows for them to expedite?"  "'How' can they expedite most effectively?"  and so on.  It takes a playful mind to explore potential actions that deviate from the safe, proven practices of the past.

Chris undoubtedly combed through the WWHWWW questions until the plan was "bushy" with enough details....details like, "Call my boss and let him know my plan.  He is tired of getting his but whipped too.  Let him know to play "stupid" to buy me time"  Details like, "Square it with the committeeman." and, "What will I say when Ed calls me?"


Responsibility is the combination of accountability and authority.  Chris took the time to develop a plan that used both of those: accountability and authority, with a deft hand.

Chris was held accountable for getting product built to a timetable.  The organization gave him human resources to deploy to make that happen.

When John called and later when Ed called (and you can be sure they did) Chris stood on his accountability and his authority.  Neither John nor Ed were getting beat up for late builds   Chris was the one being held accountable for getting the builds done on time. 

Chris actually used the limitations of his authority to justify planting Tiny and Gamo in Adam's office.  "I have no control over Adam (or John or Ed) but I do have authority over Tiny and Gamo.  My job is to get the jobs built.  I need the part.  The fastest, surest way to get the part is to have somebody waiting for a hand-delivery.  I have a limited number of chess pieces.  I deployed them to the limits of my authority."

Adam's fate was a byproduct of Chris's plan.  Adam was a dead man walking.  He was like an animal that had been shot in the heart.  The brain has 10 seconds of oxygen before it shuts down.  Somehow Adam had been able to milk that 10 seconds of oxygen for years.  Shame on the organization for letting him gum up the works for so long.


  1. I used to use a 6'5" ordnanceman for that... :-)

  2. I used to use a 6'5" ordnanceman for that... :-)