Friday, June 17, 2005

Reasoning with the Unreasonable!

First of all, thanks to Silent Cacaphony for the title of this blog entry. It has been the most frustrating week and this title pretty much sums it up.

I've spent the week arguing with my government customer about something I did, several months ago, based on his direction. He now denies he told me to do it. He never provides direction via email or in writing, so I have nothing to go back to him with. And it's something I've reported to him in various meetings, reports, briefings so I'm not sure why this is such a big surprise to him now. The real issue is that he wants me to do something that I can't do now since we used what funding we had for the earlier effort. Look, I want to do what he wants. But there's this small issue of funding. But that's not the real issue. The real issue is a simple word.


That's the problem. He can't stand it when someone tells him no. My 6 year old nephew is better at taking "no" for an answer than my customer. If he doesn't like what he hears, he will brow beat the person, accusing them of doing something illegal, or without proper authority.

Yesterday at a luncheon this issue came up and the question was, "Well who told us to send the piece of equipment to the site." And the government rep in charge of the fielding turned about and said, "He did." Then the government folks who worked under him were like, "Do you have that in writing?" So it's nice to hear that he treats his own people so bad that they are scrambling for some shred of cover to avoid his wrath.

At the Naval Academy, they told us to make sure that we weren't "yes men." Don't become some slobbering sycophant because that's not what leadership is about. Now as a government contractor, you've never supposed to say no. "Of course I can solve world hunger." And you can if you get the funding. But being the PM I understand what the tasks are, what we've been funded to do, what we need to deliver, and what funding we have to support drive by taskings. So at times you need to say no.

Thanks for letting me rant. I feel a little bit better. I'm going to walk to the circle. Sit in the sun and just not think about this crap for awhile.


At 2:55 PM, Blogger d.K. said...

Hey Trey,
I'm a former military guy too, now working as one of the bureaucrats in government you refer to. I see a lot of what you're talking about in the "culture" and I try to apply the golden rule in my behavior. Unfortunately, I see a lot of folks who do not.
I enjoyed reading your blog. Hope your weekend was relaxing!!

At 11:21 PM, Blogger A Unique Alias said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger playfulinnc said...

I totally understand where you're coming from. I sell to the gov't, and at times, i feel lucky that they chose me to buy from. Other times, they really screw me over on one thing or another- and the procurement offices turn over so quickly, that you rarely have a set group that knows what is going on.

Plus, they never return messages. Geesh.

Keep your chin up, and let me know if you want a sales job- we're hiring and we're SDVO!


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