posted by Matt W on April 23rd, 2014

As a father, I am very familiar with the concept of spending less time on a project if I just did it myself.  While in theory having my sons mow the lawn might have saved me time, in reality with all the time I spent asking them to get started, in addition to the amount of time I spent putting the lawnmower back together, it was a wash at best.  I typically walked out and looked at the mower as my sons finished the lawn, and I can’t tell you how many times actual bolts were missing from the mower making it virtually impossible to operate. I also understood it was important to work with them so they had a better understanding of the task parameters for next time and why they had to do things a certain way. They’re my kids and it’s kind of in the parenting job description.

At work it just pisses me off.

I am the person responsible for the Sustainability Plan at work. I was recently asked by a different department to create a plan explaining how we promoted sustainability at work.

“Pardon me, haven’t I already done that?”

So in explaining that we already had a Sustainability Plan and in asking what they were really looking for I found out that they needed a different document to be ISO certified. Fine. I created a document that heavily referenced my Sustainability Plan so I didn’t have to update the “new” plan every time I updated the Sustainability Plan and sent it off. It took me a couple hours to finish. There were a few questions and upper management was involved for clarification. That is when things started to fall apart.

Over the past week I have been in three,  hour and half long meetings (each of which extended past the time I usually leave), to discuss whether or not it is appropriate to reference the original document or should I actually cut and paste the passages into the new document? My management thinks it is “way too much work to do on an annual basis,” and the other group’s management thinks it is extremely important to make this new document a “stand alone document.” My only thought is I could have finished the document both ways in the time I have spent in the meetings and had time left over to update it the next few years to boot. Just make a decision!  As I walked out of the meeting last night, I mentioned we had spent more time in meetings than it would have taken me to finish the actual document, and the manager from the OTHER group actually said “But do we really need a different document?” I walked out the door as they scheduled the next meeting.

There are times when it is appropriate to collaborate, discuss ideas, and learn from each other, and there are times when someone just needs to make a decision. Unfortunately, these days it seems like most managers don’t know when it is appropriate to discuss the problem, and when they just need to make a decision.

Maybe we should have a meeting to discuss when it is appropriate to have meetings. I’ll check the calendar.

File Under Working Stiff