by Mr Meanor
A brief primer on group dynamics at work
|Dear Mr. Meanor:
I have to get a job done that requires help and input from several people, both in my company and from outside sources. Any advice?
Wanting to do a good job
Dear Doomed to Failure:
Just give up. Quit your job and move to Brazil. Join a monestary and perform missionary work in the Amazon. Believe me, being killed with poisonous darts and having your head used as a village centerpiece is preferable to having anything at all done by committee.
People are naturally contradictory and want things done their own way. They will sabatoge anyone else, work for their own self interests, and disagree with everybody else just because they can. Nothing good ever comes out of a group effort because everyone is pulling in a different direction and trying to trip everyone else up. This is because they hate the other people and want them to get fired, lose everything they hold precious, and die a painful death (not necessarily in that order). And these are people who work together on a regular basis.
It gets really vicious when other companies are involved. The people who work at these other companies (herinafter known as "lazy slobs") know that you, personally, cannot fire them. If their bosses get bad stuff from you about them the lazy slobs can deny it and claim that it was you who caused all of the problems. If the lazy slob's boss gets proof from you about the bad stuff the lazy slob can claim that you made it all up and that you hate the lazy slob's company (a true statement by this time) for some reason.
These bad feelings run through all levels of the company and run the gamut from apathy to outright disgust and hate. That's one of the reasons that it's called a hostile takeover.
To deal with all of this you can do one of two things. First, you could just sit back and not do much of anything while these other people savage each others careers. When the dust settles, you can find the things you needed yourself without the interference from those wastes of computer time to drag you down. Alternatively, you could just do the work yourself without waiting for their useless help by just making up their answers and proceeding from there. They usually just make up their information anyway.
Either one of these will give you a deserved reputation as a problem solver. The first solution provides the added benefit of being able to blame everyone else if something goes wrong and them not having any hard copy proof of their innocence.
If you absolutely MUST get input from someone else, use the dog method. When you don't get what you want, foam at the mouth, snarl, and threaten to rip some limbs off. The instant that you get what you want, become the personifcation of sweetness and light. People will fear and hate you, but that's OK. You hate them too. Otherwise you wouldn't be working with them.