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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 22-Sep-06


Friday 22-September-06 

Management attention

When you are working in an organization and want attention of some kind from more senior managers, getting access to them can be a real pain. They seem to be living on a different plane and even when you speak with them, their eyes quickly glaze over as the nether world calls them back

I've recently been trying to get time with a director who actually sits close by. I could grab a 'quick word' but this is about subtle culture change and needs more serious attention. Two meetings booked with him have got 'prioritized out', which is not a great signal, so I am going to have to take a different tack

My plan is to use a few seconds with him to press some buttons that will catalyze him into action.

The 'subtle guilt' button is used to create a slightly guilty feeling without any reversals:

'Mike, we've been trying to get together', states a truth, but without blame. It also frames the problem as 'ours', as opposed to 'mine'

This should be enough, but if he looks like he won't take the cue and fix a real meeting, I could use the 'double reverse':

'Are you ok with this project? Is it causing you difficulties?'

This is two questions in one, which is tricky. He should agree with the first question, as he has already declared support for the project. To agree with the second would be to admit weakness, so this is unlikely. The likely answer is thus yesno, which is a bit confusing. The is also likely to be a pause while he sorts things out, into which I can suggest a meeting time, which he should happily accept.




The first one worked! I didn't need the double-reverse, but being prepared made me more confident

So it's on with the show.

Hi David,

Came across your site whilst searching for definitions of "power". I am also in the change business, so I empathize with your daily successes & challenges. Great work getting your meeting with a neutral statement! I had a similar situation where I resorted to reflecting the other person behavior back to him. "We've had two meeting scheduled that you have cancelled". I did it in a neutral/pleasant tone of voice of course, and I waited (without speaking) for him to respond. We did meet the third time.

Sometimes it cracks me up that I have a "job" in the area of "change". As if change can be relegated to someone once they've decided what they want to do. I have to fight this battle continually - and view my job as more helping others be good "change leaders" than anything else.

Anyway, best of luck to you and I'll keep reading your blog. It's great to know I'm not alone!


 Hey David... read your article. quiet interesting..
as I'm an old ( should have mentioned "experienced" but just hate to be too kills life and productivity )... so as an old director ( but as you know in any big companies, a lot of chiefs and a few indians )... let me share some facts, suggestions, experiences

1. any director is also the employee of someone.
Now, make sure you understand what are your boss, and the boss of your boss, priorities.
==> if you dare... and "who dare's win"...suggest to share CEO scorecard with the entire staff.

2. before asking if the project is ok... make sure the project you're working on is THE project.
Do you have THE info about it ?.. THE info is not a long speech, basically it stands for a figure and a %. the amount of revenues and the share it represent or will represent in the total EBIT.

3. as anybody your boss has very little time. any presentation of anything should stick to the 10,20, 30 rules... 10 slides ( when you're 50 y old - average age of senior directors - you're forgetting and mixing up the first names of your grand children, imagine a looooooong presentation ) 20 minutes ( since at 50 y old, you need to pee each 20 min session... and the need to pee starts after 10 min, so the first slide should be the most important one : "in this 10 slide presentation, I will explain how you will earn xxxxxxxx dollars each year, all costs deducted" ) ... and a typo size 30 ( cuz 90% of your audience is using progressive glasses/lenses but do not wear them to maintain the "ever young" image )

Alain Hemelinckx

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