Thursday, December 02, 2004

Rites of Passing (the Buck)

I almost forgot to write today.
Can't let that happen quite so soon.
In theory, I would like to be writing first thing in the morning, when my mind is fresh, instead of at the end of a long day, when I'm tired and worn down by work.
But let's make my work day the topic today.
Often, in my company we talk about getting things "off our plates." In theory, this is a positive step, a completion of a task that frees us up to concentrate on the next priority.
In practice, getting something off one person's plate simply means scraping it onto a colleague's dish or even chewing on it a bit then spitting it out onto the nearest convenient plate.
Today, I got a couple of unpleasant problems "off my plate." I did so by positively addressing one request, and spitting another onto the plate of a higher-ranking colleague in a different department.
Could I have resolved the problem myself? Probably not, I say. At least not to the satisfaction of my senior executives.
At my authority level, and with the resources available to me, I could have resolved the issue only by saying "no" to one of the competing requests that were causing me problems. I had chewed on botht o a certain extent, weighing the probabilities of success at tackling either problem individually or both simultaneously.
My decision: One of the problems could not likely be resolved by me using the resources available to me (basically, the people who report to me). I chose to get this one off my plate by diverting it to a vice president in another department.
Unfair? Actually, no. Completely fair. The issue at hand was a service issue, and the VP to whom I handed it oversees the services organization. I am in the marketing organization.
I nevertheless ended up feeling like I had somehow passed the buck, because the situation really hasn't been resolved, just moved.
To feel the satisfaction of getting something off one's plate, I think one has to actually believe the matter is resolved. That's what I don't feel.
Maybe headed in a better direction than before. Maybe placed in the hands of someone who actually can do something about it. But not resolved.
What can I say?
My 15 minutes are up.
I'm going to get today's posting off my plate, and go watch some TV.
Tonight is OC night and North Shore night.
Time to vegetate and let my brain cells darken a little.
More from this source tomorrow.