Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
Watch Your Back While Scratching Others

Tuesday, May 13, 2003  

Today I found out that I have a senior manager who is going bananas over the Citrix thin client strategy I'm trying to pursue. And I don't mean bananas in a good way, I mean bananas as in wild and psychotic. Baby. Bathwater. Tossed out. You get the idea. We'll call her Crazy Lady, CL for short. Always willing to make a big deal over small potatoes, I find CL is bad-mouthing the thin client strategy I'm trying to pursue and is, in fact, trying to roll it back. The last department CL tried it on rebelled in an easygoing way, letting her know that all was well and that they really liked the concept and the actual implementation. I see I'm going to have an uphill battle with this, as this manager tends to ignore all reason when she's in this sort of fugue. Unfortunately I don't have the budget to upgrade her 24 person office with new PC's when we roll out Windows 2K and Office 2K. So, it's time for a strategy:

1. Identify the person or people whose thin client stories are poisoning the well. I know two off the top of my head. There might be three or four overall. I can neutralize at least one with a good lunch discussion.

2. Start the public relations machine. I need more good stories told in e-mail and at senior management meetings. That means dropping in on the latest senior managers who have been converted and getting a good story told. Surveys through e-mail help as well because it's documented.

3. Get a smaller branch converted, shake out the bugs and let them sing the praises of the implementation. Much like the department that rebelled against CL, get them to love it. This means a lot of high touch, rewards for being the first branch, etc. Never underestimate the power of reciprocity. They will be treated like royalty until they're comfortable. This will give me two major departments that work similar to her group. Both will get handsome bribes for their willingness to cooperate. Seventeen-inch LCD monitors sound good, don't they? Sure they do! Thanks for playing.

4. With that initial track record and the necessity of upgrading older PC's at CL's office, they will have some choices to make -- either run the Windows 2000/Office 2000 tandem on older machines with the concomitant speed decrease and disruption of work, or convert to thin client and see it work seamlessly. The easiest way to sell it is to start with a lunch meeting describing the existing track record, showing the financial benefits of going thin client and then asking for a pilot program to prove the concept. If that doesn't work, once they've experienced the system slowdown from an upgrade they will want a change and we'll do it in a guerilla fashion.

Don't get me wrong -- there are very few times that I will work around a senior manager. However, there are also times I'm willing to risk to pursue a vision for the company that I think is right. I think this is right. And I think I can get it done with the velvet glove.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 5/13/2003 05:03:00 PM

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