Another update from the Jungle…
Tilda is a senior manager for her company and a year ago the owner asked her to lead a team to find ways to improve internal processes to increase efficiency and profitability. For a year her team read workflow manuals and interviewed employees. It was a tough year (in many ways).
In every department, her team members had to overcome suspicion, fear, and occasionally outright hostility. Some employees feared change because they thought it would be difficult to learn new processes. Many employees were afraid it was a secret management plot to eliminate their jobs.
Tilda is now presenting her team’s findings to the senior management team and the owner. The recommendations include software upgrades, revising workflows to streamline processes, and reorganizing some departments. Her recommendations include training employees on the new software and retraining employees who are displaced in the department reorganizations.
As the meeting proceeds, one of her peers, Amanda begins to pout and squirm in her seat. She’s the first person to speak during the Q&A after Tilda’s presentation and she’s a massive downer. Amanda finds fault with almost every recommendation. She knows plenty of reasons why none of them would work, but has no alternatives to suggest.
Amanda’s whiny voice rasps on every nerve ending in Tilda’s body. Tilda remembers that Amanda’s department was the most hostile to her team during the review process. Tilda also remembers the extra work she put in and the family events she missed during the past year. Tilda wants to slap Amanda for being so obnoxious.
What are Tilda’s options?
- She can slap Amanda, which will cause short-term pleasure but long-term consequences, namely termination of employment for violating HR policies on workplace violence.
- She can ignore Amanda’s negative comments, knowing that Amanda irritates many of her peers, and look to the other managers to vote in favor of the recommended changes.
- She can politely address the more sensible objections raised by Amanda and remind the management group of the consequences of the status quo.
In the actual situation, the senior management team fought (with words, not fists) about costs and loss of prestige (for the managers of the reorganized departments) before approving about half of the team recommendations.
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