Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Warehouse of Nothing

14 in, 386 out.

If you can understand and appreciate the ending of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," you already know pretty much everything you need to about being on a staff.

A lot of your success has nothing to do with marksmanship, land navigation, tactical first aid skills, or even physical fitness. Instead, it mostly has to do with whether you're a self-starter, and whether you have a dogged persistence in you to follow up on taskings from higher up the food chain.

If your boss is worth his salt, he or she will NEVER settle for "it's in the works" as a complete answer to a follow-up query about a tasking. Instead, the second-and third-order questions that should follow will be along the lines of "Okay, well, where exactly in the process is that?" or "Whose hands is it in right now?"

Those aren't unreasonable questions. What no one wants to have happen is for an important document or product to wind up in the virtual equivalent of the warehouse shown at the end of the first of the Indiana Jones flicks.

If everyone on a staff landed in the upper-right corner of the Competence and Motivation Matrix, a lot of the follow-up wouldn't be required.

I'll admit that it's tough for me to see how people whose motivation level seems to register barely above a "flatliner" suddenly become very engaged when the subject of 'goodies' comes up...whether it's a cool new piece of gear, a chance to get some bonus leave or a pass, or an opportunity to clarify their own clerical issue, people who would otherwise be content sending things off to the warehouse featured in the 35-second clip can suddenly find that innovation, creativity, and motivation that don't seem to apply when we're talking about the mission or its requirements.

1 comment:

C R Krieger said...

That would be "we're working it", per Danger Room's Pentagonese Primer.  Somewhere in the links.

Regards  —  Cliff