#283 from Innovative
Leader Volume 6, Number 6
When we were
children, we usually spent a good bit of energy trying to get the
attention of our superiors, our parents.
This need for attention, it seems, carries forward to our
I direct a
corporate department and I, and my staff, had been jealous of all
the attention the executives were giving to some of the other
executives bypassed our offices to spend many hours a week
chatting informally with the other groups.
This certainly hurt our morale as we play a key role in
keeping the company afloat. It’s
amazing that, as adults, we still need that attention.
Now, I should
explain that my department’s responsibilities are more
“housekeeping” than “innovative,” and so it made sense why
we were overlooked. Still,
it was annoying. There
didn’t seem to be anything we could do about it.
Our responsibilities were always achieved on time and with
no special problems.
I would have been
laughed at if I would have asked the executives to visit us more
obviously visit whom they wish; in this case, the people who have
the greatest potential to make big impacts on the future of our
development and marketing were getting most of the attention.
And well they should as their activities will have more
long-range impact than what my department could achieve.
I, and my
managers, had spoken about this frustration informally on a couple
of occasions. Finally,
I decided to meet with all my department managers, and have an
open discussion on how to handle this frustration.
One manager said, “Why don’t we do something special
to attract attention.” After
a bit of humor (e.g. dyeing our hair yellow a la Rodman), we came
up with several ideas by which we might be able to improve the
functioning of the company. One
idea would free up significant space, space that was sorely needed
by other activities. Another idea would cut 30% off the cost of order fulfillment.
What’s more, these ideas seemed to be easy to implement.
I summarized our
new innovations in a tidy report which I sent to my boss.
Finally, we were noticed!
The executives now spend some time with us when they go on
their weekly company “tour.” And we enjoy the attention.
What we also enjoy now is the opportunity to meet and
discover other “special” things we can do for the company.
In fact, through the informal visits, they explain some of
the company’s problems, problems that we hadn’t previously
known about (or, if we did, we didn’t think much about). We usually have an idea or two to help solve those problems.
therefore, is to not waste time and energy complaining about
insufficient attention; rather, do something special and deserve
that attention. It
wasn’t that difficult for us to find something special to do,
and I’d bet that you could easily find something special to do