Do You Straighten or Tip — Can You Be Leaned On?
It’s 8 am Monday morning and there are people already downstairs outside the office. Fuming. Pissed off. Insults hurled. This will go on until 11 am. Maybe the work that needs to get done can start then.
This is has been the messiest damned project of all time. These reactions have been status quo since June 1.
The understanding client, who said they will trust you, after you had told them every day is going to look like chaos, lost their minds two days into the start. They, from almost the first day, have asked when will you be done and how much is this going to cost; even though you long ago submitted a budget and schedule that have not changed.
These raw emotions are driven by fear, anxiety, a sense of being put upon. Having this project being imposed upon everyone it seems. In some way everyone has choose to be here in this moment. Yet they want you to now deliver something different.
No one is happy. Happy with you and your team. Happy with how quickly things are moving. Happy with how things are organized. Your team has threatened to quit and leave you. Almost every day the team’s emotions fester into a negative mess. Yet another issue.
Have you Mis-led everyone? Was your positive outlook, that although messy, this project will get done on time and on on budget? Was this just an attempt to keep a good spin going? Did you tamp down the issues you saw? Did you get too comfortable in the idea that it will be messy, so just let it be so, versus overinvesting in controlling it? Did you put too much trust in others? Was this more than you can handle? All of these things you allow to come into your consciousness and affect how you think. Sap your confidence. Shadow everything with doubt. Confidence eroded a long time ago as you understand now. Are you doing anything to truly try and just begin again?
Perfect storm. Unhappy tenants, unhappy client, and unhappy team. Feels like a hurricane.
Where did you go wrong? Tone setting? Process? Communication? Expectation setting?
Should you have shut the damned thing down once you saw things starting to go off track instead of trying to plow through and will the results? The first moment she told she was quitting, I should have bit the bullet and let her go, you think to yourself.
All you were trying to do was stand up straighter in this storm. Be that tree in the Hurricane that maybe whipping around at the canopy, but is firm and steady at the root and trunk for others to lean on.
After all, this is part of what the client pays for, right? For you to be leaned on in the storm. Allow them to brace and steady so they don’t blow over. Or worse, die in the storm. Being that firm tree is a good reputation builder.
Once this storm is over you tell yourself, we will invest in cleaning up some of the debris on our dime. Make it right. Certainly we did not do a few things someplace along the way to reduce the negative impacts. We wavered somewhere along the way. We allowed the flood waters to breach somewhere.
It’s been two-months since the first phase was completed. Seemingly everyday there is a new storm. This now in the realm of issues, you did not contribute to. This is the stuff of the root cause that was analyzed that contributed to this thing starting as it did.
You have told yourself and the client. We’ve done our job to now. A few things to clean up still, but not major stuff that has to happen now. Yet they still want for you to lead the resolutions. They believe it’s your job to keep doing more. Why? Keep working the same issues that at their root preceded you. You think it’s their job. You’re not on the same page. Where you ever? Did you direct them to the wrong page.
Can you still be leaned on? Should you let anyone take shelter? Is it reasonable for them to expect that you continue to let stay tethered to you?
What lessons have you learned?
Have they learned any?
Are you letting them take advantage of you?
Or are you just being a good sturdy tree they can lean on because the storm is not over?
You, the reader will have to find out. This story is far from over, and their is more to come. But for now, feel free to comment.