Saturday, August 26, 2006

Winning friends and influencing people, part one

So, like I spend most of my life doing these days, I take a day and produce several tedious and fairly meaningless reports. This particular report runs to about 5 pages, and all the pertinent information is later extracted and summarized into 2 paragraphs, less than a page all told. The original report is then filed, and never seen again. So why not just write the 2 paragraph summary? Because, if anything ever goes wrong with a decision based on those 2 paragraphs, the original report can be dug out and referenced in any investigation. In keeping with the army love of acronyms, I call this one the CYA report.

But it turns out that I'm frightenly good at it. Yesterday, one of my reports that went to a new, and fairly senior person to review, comes back with a comment written at the top in red ink: "Thanks, you're all over this." One of my peers got back the same kind of report, only with a lot more red ink, and with the phrase "You're all over it" noticeably absent from the top. A sticky note on top politely requested that he try again.

He showed up at my desk and asked if I had to redo anything on my report. When I told him no, he grabbed mine off the desk and started comparing the two. While he didn't say anything, he didn't seem to be terribly happy for me when he saw the comment on the top of mine.

When he got to the middle section, he thrust both reports under my nose and said "I do not get this. These two are exactly alike." I looked and saw that, in the meat of the report, in addition to other comments, the reviewer had complained - in detail and at length - about the improper format that my co-worker had used. The format he used did look familiar, though, and I looked at the pristine, no red ink page in my report and verified that it was exactly the same format my co-worker had used.

So, I had to tell him "Well, you know, when you're all over it, you can afford to make a few mistakes." Somehow, that didn't seem to improve his mood any.


Blogger Jack said...

Good to see you back.

5:17 PM  

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