Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses

On Employees Educating Employers? 79

Posted by Cliff
from the when-is-it-appropriate dept.
ramannoodle asks: "My employer currently makes many decisions that I feel would save them a lot of money by going about it in a different way. I have presented many of these ideas to them, but being the not-so-great sales person that I am, I feel in some ways that by voicing my opinion on these things, I am jeopardizing my standing with the company. Is it the right thing to do to continue educating my employer on issues they do not want to hear, but will save them money and just risk being one of the many unemployed honest IT professionals out there? Do I hide what I know from them by keeping my mouth shut and just doing what they tell me so I can keep my job and feed my family? It's a tough economy out there, and is it worth being over-enthusiastic about helping the company?" We touched on this issue for contractors, but what about actual employees?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

On Employees Educating Employers?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Since you mentioned you were working in IT, I am assuming you are in India.

    You are supposed to response honestly when asked, but to keep your mouth shut unless being addressed to directly. Haven't your mother told you this? Also, don't eat lamb curry in the server room and respect Shiva for he's the greatest. Keep a low profile, always smile and dress up in a shirt, and it will take you long ways, son.
  • by MightyTribble (126109) on Monday August 04, 2003 @04:56PM (#6609478)

    Don't sweat it.

    Just kick back, take the paycheck, and do what is asked of you. Do it well if you want satisfaction of a job well done, do it just well enough to avoid being fired if work is just someplace you go between 8am and 5pm.

    Really, unless your job description specifically allows you to suggest and make improvements to processes (and the company culture is *clearly* open to such things), don't try to get into the inner circle - you'll only target yourself for the next round of cuts as 'that guy who's always being negative'. In my case, by suggesting other ways to do things, I was seen as 'negative', even though I didn't say 'don't do that!', merely 'you know, this way may be better...'.

    Attain a state of Zen - You are an employee. They pay you to show up and do what you're told for eight hours a day. In exchange, they give you money. Nothing more. To try to attribute higher meaning or greater value to your job where none exists is just adding to your stress levels.

    Why yes, I am bitter. But now I have experience, and I have attained Zen.
    • This is the perfect approach. It took me years to reach this stage, but life has been much more liveable ever since (I don't get pissed and bitter about the many, many stupid decisions).

      To quote Henry Miller, do exactly what they expect of you and let them live to regret it. Well, not a direct quote, but close from my memory of reading one of his Tropic books many years ago.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      With that kind of attitude, its no wonder companies are outsourcing IT jobs overseas.
      • Yeah...it's a damn shame that managers have that kind of attitude of not accepting others' insight...oh wait...
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Heh. I'll bite...

        I was #1 Loyal Employee. Really. I defended the company and its machinations from detractors. I studied the business model and tried to offer constructive improvements to business processes. I put in extra time on weekends and evenings (and even, occasionally, got recognised for it). I went the extra mile for the company, just because I believed in what it was doing and thought that we could really make a difference. I was also cheap.

        However, this did not play well with some in management
    • But now I have experience, and I have attained Zen.

      No, you are only superficially in a state of Zen. If you look deeper, you will realize that you are in the very common state of having had all idealism crushed and stripped from your body, leaving a cynical shell of a person. I should know...
    • by etcshadow (579275) on Monday August 04, 2003 @05:47PM (#6609918)
      Yeah, well, it's a double-edged sword. I've refused to hire people in the past because they had simply gone along with stupid-assed ideas at their previous jobs. It seriously fails to impress me in an interview when someone tells me about his/her last project and it was just stupid, stupid, stupid. ...Regardless of the reason. I need people who can take sensible business understanding to technical problems, and I don't think I'm alone.

      Don't get me wrong, I know it's a tough world out there and all, but when you are looking to hire the best talent, you have to take the whole person into consideration. The sort of person who is happy to a) do what he/she is told without thinking about it themselves, b) sit idly by while watching their company tank, or c) is unable to recognize the broader scope of technical issues... well, that person is not someone who I want to put that much faith in. I don't want to work with someone who is happy riding a sinking ship down to the waterline.

      All that said, if you are looking for a career track that ends at "I can code" (without a healthy amount of "I can think" and "I understand your business"), then good luck. Move to India, if they'll have you, because that's where an increasing of that job market is headed these days. However, if you want to be the sort of programmer who can continue to reliably command a good job in the US or western Europe over the next decade, then look into developing and being able to communicate that business understanding.
      • All these days I wondered if I am the only one typing :W and getting the lame error message all the time. Is there a way to map ":W" so that it does the same as ":w"? Thanks in advance...
        • Yeah. Do C-h k :w and notice the name of the function it's bound
          to. Say for example it's bound to some-command. Then do this in
          the relevant mode hook: (local-set-key (kbd ":W") 'some-command)

          HTH.HAND.
      • It's really a matter of right now vs. career path. The best bet might be to keep quiet and keep the job while shotgunning the resume around. At interviews make it clear that the reason for leaving is to advance his career by taking a more active role in decision making (and make it clear that the current employer has no openings available along that path).

    • Here's a bit of advice (that I'm probably too cautious to take myself): If you really think your employer is screwing up, then short their stock. Just be aware that lots of companies do well in spite of less-than-stellar decisions.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is not the first post because nobody will
    actually read this.
  • by Murdock037 (469526) <tristranthorn@@@hotmail...com> on Monday August 04, 2003 @04:57PM (#6609491)
    This being Slashdot, my first assumption is that you're thinking of educating them on Linux / open source / etc.

    If this is the case, don't be so sure of yourself. If you're not the head of the IT department, I would either:

    1. Talk to whomever is the head of the IT department; if they're unaware of open source options, discuss, but don't impose your ideology for the sake of imposing your ideology, or

    2. Keep your head down, as it could very well be out of place for you to assume you have any say in your company's direction.

    If you are the head of IT, then you should already have the ear of the highers-up, if it's not entirely your decision to make.

    I suppose the simple answer is: Don't neglect the chain of command. If you're perceived as an uppity, out-of-line employee, it's going to overshadow your message.
  • by tackaberry (694121) on Monday August 04, 2003 @04:58PM (#6609500)
    You might want to see about building a network of support with others in your organization.

    If you feel that your selling skills won't win over the decision makers, find someone else in the organization that shares your feelings, and have them help sell the company on your ideas.

    A lot of times it is difficult to go at it alone, but with a network of support, you'll have people backing you up and raising the level of awareness.

    Discuss your ideas with a smaller group, a make a game plan for bringing it up to management. Look for advocates, and someone to champion your cause.

    If you can save money, or avoid problems the company should appreciate the efforts. Sometimes you just have to work through old-thinking.
    • I want to second this approach -

      A few years ago I was involved with setting up an environment for allowing engineers to work at home. That sounds like no big deal, but I'm talking about 1995 or so when ISDN at home was something impressive.

      We needed to have Xterminal access to the work environment and I suggested deploying Linux on people's home machines. We even went so far as to do 7 or 8 installs on people's home boxes.

      The professional IT guys said they couldn't support this, even though we already s
      • The point to the story is that even in trying to sell it, I had the help of my direct manager who was ALSO a Linux fan and pushed the project on my behalf! I did the work, he did the sales.

        This is an ideal situation which I am fortunate enough to be in. I get paid far less than other's in similar positions (last I checked at least), but having a good relationship with your boss, and letting him do the sales for you, is ideal, especially in my experience at a small/medium sized company (about 500 employee
  • by Dyrandia (253125) on Monday August 04, 2003 @04:58PM (#6609503) Journal
    If feeding your family is what's most important to you, then you've made your decision already.

    In my opinion, if you briefly offer them the pros and cons of both your idea of doing things versus the way they want to, and they choose to ignore it, you've done your part. You don't have to force the issue and become one of the many honest but unemployed. You've given them alternatives, but haven't forced them down their throats. A brief mention is all that's really necessary.
  • is essentially what this boils down to. i wish there was an easy answer, but at the end of the day, you're the guy who's going to have to sleep with how you've chosen to resolve this on your conscience. my personal $1/(49+1) is that yes, you do have an obligation to say, "hey, there may be a better way -- look at this possibility", but that's where it ends: there is no cure for willful stupidity. if management chooses an inferior option even after having other choices presented to them, that's management's
  • If you are in Sales, you are not in IT, you are on the other side of the fence (-1 Troll)

    That said, if you really want to find out how to save money, find out how your company does accounting for descisions, what variables are taken into account, what numbers they pull out of their ass.
    That said, challenge none of those numbers, that is a fruitless battle that will get you no where. What you want to do is create a scenario where the likely benefit of implementing your descision outwieghs the preceived be

  • In a word, no... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wtom (619054) on Monday August 04, 2003 @05:09PM (#6609592)
    The sad fact is, the way companies go about business decisions has lots more to do with upper management making "good ol' boy" deals that benefit important individuals (both within and outside the company) than technical merit, or doing things the best way for the company. Then there are the decision makers with huge, fragile egos that view any dissenting voice as a direct attack on them and some kind of ploy for power within the company(simply because they cannot conceive of any other reason anyone might disagree with them).

    I was involved with a large-scale Oracle deployment at my last employer. I kid you not when I say trained monkeys could have made better business and technical decisions regarding this deployment. I protested in varying degrees of urgency, getting more vocal as time went on (and my hours per week increased). I very very nearly lost my job over it, and I was NOT being a butthole about it. I nearly lost my job because I was RIGHT, and pointed out that I had correctly predicted many of the failings and problems that arose as a result of stupid decisions. Even though I was (at least I thought) polite and professional about it, I was taken aside by my non-technical IT superiors and told to shut the hell up or I'd be looking for another job.

    I wound up looking for and getting another job anyway, but the moral of my story is, no good deed goes unpunished. You must realize, especially in huge corporations, that things like these have nothing to do with technical merits or doing things the right way. Its all about power ploys and political maneuverings(sp?).
    • I nearly lost my job because I was RIGHT, and pointed out that I had correctly predicted many of the failings and problems that arose as a result of stupid decisions. Even though I was (at least I thought) polite and professional about it, I was taken aside by my non-technical IT superiors and told to shut the hell up or I'd be looking for another job.

      The fact that you were right is NOT something that needs to be yelled from the mountain top. Either people will remember that the next time and come to you

      • I told him not to do what I did.

        I would, however, disagree with your characterization of what I did. As I stated, I was unfailingly polite about it, and did my best to be professional. That means quite specifically I did not shout it from the mountaintop. While my original post was indicative of my bitterness, I did my best not to show that in the various meetings I attended. I was much much more successful at doing that than many of the various department heads, etc. This entire project was extreme
        • It basically comes down to this: Making someone aware of the decision they made was the wrong one, even though you were completely right, isn't something other people like to hear. Some people react to it differently than others. I've had some people thank me when I did it, and I've had others go into complete denial that they were the ones that suggested it in the first place.

          The real time to bring this up would be at the next deployment of something similar and say "We tried X last time, and that did
    • I nearly lost my job because I was RIGHT, and pointed out that I had correctly predicted many of the failings and problems that arose as a result of stupid decisions.

      You are very insightful, and another way of looking at it is that what you were saying could have gone through the rumour mill and been heard by the executives. And they might be shocked to learn that the whole thing had been a very expensive fiasco. They were told by IT management that all those problems and complaints are to be expected in

  • Educate yourself (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MrResistor (120588) <peterahoff&gmail,com> on Monday August 04, 2003 @05:11PM (#6609612) Homepage
    It sounds like what you really need to do is educate yourself. Pick up some books on giving presentations and selling your ideas, or maybe take a class at the local CC (Speech or Drama). Also, educate yourself on what you are pushing and the alternatives as well. You need to be able to answer any challengers.

    Keep at it though, eventually they might listen. Or maybe the guy who mainly opposes your ideas will "seek opportunities outside the company". You never know.

    I don't see how you can hurt your position by suggesting ways for the company to save money as long as you aren't being obnoxious about it. Absolute worst case scenario: your new communication skills will really help you out in interviews.

  • by jgardn (539054) <jgardn@alumni.washington.edu> on Monday August 04, 2003 @05:14PM (#6609645) Homepage Journal
    If you do have some opinions on where the company should go, share them with your immediate supervisor or manager. Be prepared to answer questions when they get asked. Have at your fingertips and on your tongue tip the answers to the questions he is going to ask you.

    If your supervisor is worth anything, he will give you the message his supervisors would give you. If you are able to convince him, then you have a shot at getting it all the way up. Besides, your supervisor will be better at getting the message sold than you would.

    You have to get educated. You have to learn how to sell it. You have to have the facts to back it up.
    • Another thing to keep in mind while all this is going on, is to see where the cudos go for a suggestion that's well received. You might not be aware of what's said. If your manager passes the word that you're the one that needs to be praised, that's good. If the manager takes credit for it, get the hell out of there. The manager is just using you for their own career, instead of helping you in yours. Cynical, yes, but it's true.
  • Be careful. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pmz (462998) on Monday August 04, 2003 @05:21PM (#6609699) Homepage
    If you don't know the true motives of your employer, you just might end up looking a little foolish. Sometimes, from a business accounting perspective, it makes sense for the PHBs to do totally counter-intuitive things like hiring junior programmers or forcing people to use shitty computers because of how the balance sheets are categorized or how things are charged to the customer in a contract situation.

    You might just insult them, too, by saying, effectively, "Your accounting system is shit. Let me show you how to do your job." Usually, people are adverse to being bossed around, especially when their methods are widely accepted in the industry, regardless of how inane they are. They might turn around and say, "Okay, you measure and account for the labor costs saved by upgrading everyone to a newer computer." Or, worse, if you do it in front of a customer, you just might blow the bosses cover!
  • by linuxwrangler (582055) on Monday August 04, 2003 @05:23PM (#6609708)
    Unless you are working in a two-man shop your "employer" is not a single sentient being. You need to deal with humans in the organization and each person will have individual motivations.

    You are unlikely to sell your dyed-in-the-wool MSCE boss on open-source if it means that you become the expert and he becomes redundant. The benefit to the corporation doesn't matter here. In most organizations you won't have much luck trying to go over his head, either.

    Also, keep the "big picture" in mind. I've seen people decry the fact that their employers waste so much money on [paperclips, toner, servers] they bought at [big on-line megastore] when the paperclips are 20 cents cheaper at Joe's stationers and a new desktop is cheaper down the street at we-b-p-cs. Fine, but collecting all those prices, managing the paperwork for all those accounts, etc. is expensive. It's usually better to have a few good suppliers with decent prices and good service/return policies than trying to micromanage every purchase so don't try to convince the purchasing manager otherwise.

    Having very little detail to go on in your post I can blindly offer one suggestion: a well-done pilot or example project completed while doing a good job with your assigned duties and presented carefully to the proper people can do wonders. I've seen this work brilliantly on many occasions.

    For a large-scale example of this read "Sidewinder", the book about the development of the Sidewinder missile. The original task was to improve fuses for bombs but the engineers co-opted the project and developed the most spectacularly successful air-to-air missile in history.

  • by darthwader (130012) on Monday August 04, 2003 @05:25PM (#6609735) Homepage
    This may be a surprise to a lot of IT workers, but most people aren't as smart as they think they are, and most bosses are smarter than their workers think the bosses are.

    Instead of approaching the problem as "My idiot boss is doing something that I know is stupid", try approaching it as "I don't understand why my boss is doing this. I should learn."

    It may turn out that your boss learns something from you. If so, you win because the boss now has a higher impression of you.

    Or (more likely) you will learn more about the situation, and possibly understand why the boss made the decision s/he did. In which case, you still win, because learning is a good thing, and because your boss is impressed that you care enough to learn more than just the bare minimum of your job.

    Finally, don't confuse subjective with objective. Many decisions are not clear-cut, and come down to subjective "better" or "more important" criteria. If your boss' opinion of the relative importance of two things differs from yours, then you two can make different decisions even with exactly the same facts. All you can do in this case is to try to understand why your boss ranks things that way (because, referring to the start of this post, chances are that the person with more experience and more success in the field has a better feeling for "more important" and "better").
    • This may be a surprise to a lot of IT workers, but most people aren't as smart as they think they are, and most bosses are smarter than their workers think the bosses are. Instead of approaching the problem as "My idiot boss is doing something that I know is stupid", try approaching it as "I don't understand why my boss is doing this. I should learn."

      I often find that the boss does not (cannot?) devote the time to ponder and explore the issue. Thus, they go with "instant gut" feelings. At least my side
  • by stienman (51024) <adavis.ubasics@com> on Monday August 04, 2003 @05:29PM (#6609763) Homepage Journal
    Every company I've worked for has not only accepted but expected employee feedback on processes, so I may not be the best person to be accepting advice from.

    Having said that, I can tell you that it really depends on how they react. I wouldn't want to lose my job over it, so I wouldn't voice my opinion unless I knew it was well received. As others have said, you are being paid to match your job description and do what your boss says. Do your work, do an excellent job, but don't tread on another's turf.

    Also be ready to study the process, completely, from start to end. There may well be good reasons for doing something backwards.

    Don't annoy people by being smarter than them, and don't assume they will believe you right off the bat. If you phrase the suggestion in such a way as to suggest you got it from some other reputable source, they may be much more receptive than "The net" or yourself as "That kid in cubicle 3A"

    I know you probably have the organization's best interests at heart (right?), but they may see you (honestly- some people think in these terms) as making a power grab, or brown-nosing. You may not be able to dispel these feelings, but if you lay out your case carefully, and explain things on a basic (but not too basic) level, they may not feel them so strongly.

    Understand the process as much as possible
    Understand the inefficiency
    Understand the solution
    Understand your audience (and how to explain all this to them)
    Understnad that any ideas you put forth you may have to implement without slowing your current work

    -Adam
  • You may not think that you are good at selling your ideas but you will fail over and over if you don't learn to be more persuasive. Learn to simplify your presentation (dumb your ideas down if you have to). Learn what concepts and terms your audience does and does not understand and adapt. You may decide that the effort isn't worth it. Just understand that your best ideas will always fail if you can't convey them effectively.
  • 1- Start your own company
    2- Take all the Good Decisions
    3- Profit!!!!

    Seriously, as an employee, you may have to accept many of your employer's decisions that look bad to you. If you think you can do better, you don't have to sell your soul to PHB.
  • by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Monday August 04, 2003 @05:32PM (#6609786)
    I'm not unique in this, but have you looked at it from the other side? Perhaps it might help you, who is so much wiser than your supervisors (who, contrary to popular belief rarely get their job through the "Mel Cooley" route of being related to the boss) to look at things from management's point of view. (Side note: This is a point that seems to come up a lot in Ask /. -- it seems a lot of the IT people here are too busy being intelligent, patting themselves on the back for it, and showing their intelligence to actually THINK about what's going on!)

    I own my own business. Before that, I worked for a few local small businesses. I've also worked as a teacher, with numerous students telling me they knew much more about what they had to know to do Algebra well than I did. The first time I was in charge of people was when I was a teenager, when I was directing and producing a 2 hour dramatic (and sci-fi based with special effects!) production to air on local cable TV. It seems easiest to make my point with an example from that experience. I knew the script forward and backward. If someone called out a scene number (w/ over 100 scenes in a 2 hour script), I could tell you what happened, what actors and props were needed, what set it was on, etc. - everything about it. I could also tell you what scenes came before and after, as well as what the last scene any actor, prop, or set was used and what the next one they were in would be. I had to know all this, since I had nobody to help with continuity. Many times actors would make suggestions they thought would make it better. At first I tried to explain ("No, we can't add a punchline for comic relief here, since we're building toward something more dramatic 2 scenes down," or "I know you look better in that costume, but in the last scene, you were angry and took off and you've been tramping around in the woods, with no luxeries for 2 weeks in July, so you can't wear the sweater that makes you look stacked!") to the actors why or why not something would work. I found that often they were too focused on their own performances (as they should be) to keep the overall view in mind. Often they would say a suggestion whould make their scene better or add personality to the character. After a while I had so much to do I couldn't always explain why I had to (or decided to) say no to many requests. Many times I nixed an idea because it would completely destroy a scene that was important to another character, only to hear an actor walk away, mumbling under their breath, something about just wanting a quality production. What they did not see, and often could not see without the exhaustive time I had put into studying the script before I had cast any of them, was the big picture. I wasn't against quality, but I couldn't have someone changing one scene when it disrupted the overall story.

    I find that happening in offices all the time. In my company, the employees do not need to know why I make a decision. The point is it's my business, I'm in charge, and it's my job to keep the business running. I may go with a system that costs more today. Maybe I've got a good relationship with the vendor and know that in another month I'll be buying video equipment instead of computer equipment and they can get it for me for wholesale.

    The point is that, as an employee, you don't know why management is making their decisions. It's not your job to know and it's not their job to tell you. When I hire a coder, his/her job is to write code -- and possibly to give advice (when asked for) on overall computer systems. Maybe what I'm doing doesn't make sense to them. It doesn't have to. It makes sense to me. Maybe I'm spending more now because it's a tradeoff and I'd rather spend a few thousand extra on a LAN and save three times that much next month on video equipment. Maybe I'm getting equipment from one dealer because I can barter with him and keep my net cost down. It's not my job to tell an IT person why I'm doing something. It's my sho
    • Also, from a management point of view, an employee like you describe does not seem to grasp their role in the company and what their true responsibilities are.

      Depends on where you work, doesn't it? Over the past ten years, I haven't had a job where stock options (or straight stock) wasn't included as part of the compensation plan.

      Believe me, if you plan on offering me part of the company's future success as an incentive to work today, you had better be willing to put up with me questioning what looks l

      • Even if you're not, you had better realize that, particularly in the technology field, you hire people for their expertise. Tell me why you would hire someone for their knowlege and experience, and then ignore their opinions on the areas they are uniquely quilified to comment on?

        Go back and re-read the post. I gave an example, from my experience over 20 years ago, of what happened when I was directing a production. Later I make the point that there are many other factors. I get opinions. I pay people
        • Goback and re-read my post. You missed my point - that your post comes across as "I'm the boss, what I say goes."

          I have no idea what kind of business you run right now. There are many where that sort of attitude is not only beneficial, it's pretty much a requirement for a successful business. There are other businesses where a single person can't reasonably be expected to understand all the ramifications of a particular decision.

          I'm not a lawyer - but I know enough about licensing issues to spot, and r

          • Goback and re-read my post. You missed my point - that your post comes across as "I'm the boss, what I say goes."

            And just what part of that is so difficult to understand?

            I'm not joking. When I started putting together the business, I had nothing, except credit card debt and a truck in my name (and a dog, if you count that). I'm the person who took every risk, who went to countless banks only to be turned down because the business was new, who went for several years with having to decide what bills to p
            • And just what part of that is so difficult to understand?

              It's not difficult to understand at all. If you go back and take a look at my original post, though, you'll see that my main problem is when you say that... and then want to pay me, in whole or in part, with a share of your business.

              At that point, as far as I'm concerned, the employer-employee relationship goes out the window. I'm at least an investor, and possibly even a junior partner, depending on what you've promised me. In that situation,

              • From the sound of it, you don't make arbitrary decisions without employee feedback

                I usually don't. My overall point (or part of it) is that the bottom line rests on me, so I reserve the right to make decisions without feedback, since it is my job to be aware of everything and I may very well be making decisions based on factors most employees do now know about.

                I do agree that the situation is different with stock options. I seriously doubt I will ever be involved with a public corporation. It's not my
            • That also means it is MY responsibility. Not yours, not the coders', not my lawyers', not my accountant's, but MINE. While I may delegate decisions and functions, it's up to me. Which means I take the heat and the rewards.

              WRONG! If I work in your company, and you are about to make a mistake that is going to cause it to go under, I am out of a job in a very hard job market. Are you going to continue to pay me once your company goes under? Are you maing that promise? If not, then you'll listen to my adv
              • No, I won't listen to your advice. I pay you to follow my instructions, not vice versa. I'm much more lenient than most bosses, but if you try that, you're likely to be out of a job whether the company goes down or not.

                Suppose I decide I'm tired of running the company and decide to close it or sell it to the highest bidder. Closing it will eliminate your job. Suppose I know the buyer plans on elminating your position. The decision I make still directly effects you. Does that mean it's your responsibi
                • No, I won't listen to your advice. I pay you to follow my instructions, not vice versa. I'm much more lenient than most bosses, but if you try that, you're likely to be out of a job whether the company goes down or not.

                  Suppose I decide I'm tired of running the company and decide to close it or sell it to the highest bidder. Closing it will eliminate your job. Suppose I know the buyer plans on elminating your position. The decision I make still directly effects you. Does that mean it's your responsibility t
                  • Maybe I have a better understanding of it than you are willing to believe. You seem to have the feeling that you are the bottom line. Not true. Never. The person/people who are running the company are. It is their choice to listen or not listen to your advice.

                    But, from what you say, it seems clear that you are the ultimate expert. You are the one who knows what should be done. You are the final authority.

                    So why are you busy working for others who make more than you and can decide your fate? Why do
                    • Maybe I have a better understanding of it than you are willing to believe. You seem to have the feeling that you are the bottom line. Not true. Never. The person/people who are running the company are. It is their choice to listen or not listen to your advice.

                      If I decide to walk out of your office before a job is done, your business will fail, simple as that. You would not have hired me unless you *absolutly* needed me, because I'm far too expensive to be hired for trivial work. I think that sounds fair
                    • And I would never allow anything in my company to be structured so any one person is that vital to the business. In my eyes, it'd be poor management.

                      It seems unlikely that you and your ego will have to worry about working for me, then, will you?
                    • And I would never allow anything in my company to be structured so any one person is that vital to the business. In my eyes, it'd be poor management.

                      It seems unlikely that you and your ego will have to worry about working for me, then, will you?


                      Of course not, that's not the point, I doubt you even do any multi-million dollar banking transactions, let alone write the software for it. The point is, you are advocating hiding information from your employees that they need to know. You justify it by saying
    • Another important point, which is a tired cliche, is: "It's not what you know, it's who you know."

      It doesn't matter if you have the greatest ideas in the world. If you don't have "friends" in higher places, you probably won't have the opportunity to convey these ideas successfully.

      My advice to the asker is to cultivate relationships with your boss, his boss, etc. to the point where you can take them out to lunch and ask them questions about why they're doing what they're doing, without pushing your sol

    • Mr. Hermit,

      Are you currently hiring software people? I apologize for using this forum for something other than "tech talk" but I really like what you have to say and if you have opportunities I'd love to see if we can be mutually beneficial. Thanks.

    • find that happening in offices all the time. In my company, the employees do not need to know why I make a decision. The point is it's my business, I'm in charge, and it's my job to keep the business running.

      And this is why you are guaranteed to fail. Observe:

      When I hire a coder, his/her job is to write code -- and possibly to give advice (when asked for) on overall computer systems.

      Without an overall picture of the entire system, I will write you code that exactly fits the requirements that you giv
      • So I take it, since you have such vast wisdom, you must be on the board of directors or running your own business?

        As I said in another comment, it always amazes me that the people that give me the most advice on running a business are the ones who have never run one. And 99% of the time, they're people who have never worked in management at all. I keep wondering why, if they have so much wisdom, they're the ones working for others, instead of using their vast wisdom to run that perfect company they say t
        • The moral: Those who can, do. Those who think they can, don't, but cannot accept that, so they work for those who do and continually tell them why they're doing it wrong.

          The real moral:

          Those who can, do.

          Those who can't, go into management.

          Those who can't manage become directors.

          Those who can't direct become CEOs.

          It all comes down to the peter principle. We work to the level of our incompetence when in fact we should work one level below.

        • As I said in another comment, it always amazes me that the people that give me the most advice on running a business are the ones who have never run one. And 99% of the time, they're people who have never worked in management at all. I keep wondering why, if they have so much wisdom, they're the ones working for others, instead of using their vast wisdom to run that perfect company they say they know how to run.

          I don't run a company because I have no desire to, not becuase I am incapable. To me it sounds
          • I have turned down more management positions than I care to count

            In other words, no management experience.

            Indeed, are you an engineer? Can you do my job? No? Then stop telling me how to do it.

            Thank you for making my point, without realizing it. Your point, that unless I'm an engineer I don't know how to do your job is a "two edged sword." You admit to not managing, yet you seem to know how to manage. Yet, you say one who is not in your job or is not an engineer doesn't know how to do your job.

            Let
            • There was one small business I worked for where I was continually telling the boss about the problems with equipment and why we should be using something else and what was wrong with the current system.

              And thank YOU for making my point for ME. Imagine if that boss had just explained to you the reasons why he was using that equiptment in a clear and rational way. Poof, problem solved, you wouldn't have been pestering him any more... If it was a good reason. If it's a bad reason, then why is he doing it
              • Imagine if that boss had just explained to you the reasons why he was using that equiptment in a clear and rational way. Poof, problem solved, you wouldn't have been pestering him any more...

                It's not his job. Simple as that. He could have explained. Then I might have countered, and he'd have to counter. Kind of like what you're doing now -- you just can't accept that the person in charge is in charge. Since you haven't been in management, you haven't seen it from that side. I gave an example, earlie
                • Imagine if that boss had just explained to you the reasons why he was using that equiptment in a clear and rational way. Poof, problem solved, you wouldn't have been pestering him any more...

                  It's not his job. Simple as that.


                  It is exactly his job to give the information that the employees need. By you logic, the engineers shouldn't discuss technical considerations with thier managers, since it's not the manager's job to deal with those issues... But without full and open communication, the company is d
  • You might consider prototyping the solution that you have in mind.

    For example, if you had in mind to use a mailing list to solve a comms problem within your company (or provide a comms channel to your customers) you could build one as a prototype from freely available tools and make that a first step toward a real solution. If the prototype bombs because people don't want to be bothered to use it or because it doesn't work well, then perhaps your organization (or the tool you are using) is not ready for p
  • by hey! (33014) on Monday August 04, 2003 @05:57PM (#6610008) Homepage Journal
    The problem is that most young turks only know one method of persuasion: pelting-hell-for-leather-guns-blazing-take-no-pris oners yadda yadda yadda. I'm a big boy, and I can listen to some snot nosed little pipsqueak tell in so many words me I'm a decrepit relic well past my sell by date and it rolls right off me. But I wouldn't count on most bosses being that way.

    Adopting a little humility can do wonders for getting most higher ups to listen to you. For instance, do you really understand the whole picture they're they're working from? What are the things they are worrying about on a day to day basis? The things that make them look good or bad to their bosses?

    Once you know this, you can relate your ideas to the things that are gnawing at the bosses guts. When he's off on one of his pet problems, you can say, "Y'know, I bet we could (insert boss's pet problem here) if we (insert your pet technology here); I know it sounds a bit radical, but we could do a quick prototype on the old server downstairs in a little time and see if it merits more consideration. I know we're really late on these other things, but it won't make much difference if it doesn't work out, and it could help a lot."

    This will change his perception of you from your being an irritating one-note gadfly to a problem solver.
    • by xanthan (83225)
      Exactly.

      I've made the transition from code monkey to marketing monkey. I end up helping a lot of sales reps on calls because of my technical background and ability to "geek-meld" in one sentence and pitch "value propositions" in the next.

      There are several key parts to the pitch:

      o Give the other guy an out that makes him look good.

      This means opening with "I might be missing something but," or "Would it contradict the big picture if we..." In each case you give the receiver of the idea a chance to explain
  • I think your best bet for "making suggestions" would be to actually do it in a way the your manager can appreciate.

    Just saying "Hey, this isn't the best way to do things" Write up a proposal on glossy paper with lots of graphs and pie charts and such. Do your homework.

    Even if your boss still thinks you're wrong, at least he or she can't discount you completely. And it's not like you'd be nitpicking if you put together something really slick. Also if they chose to keep the status quo, at least you get
  • by Midnight Warrior (32619) on Monday August 04, 2003 @06:10PM (#6610105) Homepage

    My dad, after being the best engineer in one General Motors facility, had his job outsourced to Detroit where "corporate" could do it better, faster. He knew that when folks were designing a chiller installation on the second floor, it would violate the load per square foot rating for the roof (i.e. collapsed roof if you get it wrong). He also knows exactly how deep/where gas pipelines lay across some arbitrary field on a 2 sq. mile plant (i.e. dig in the wrong place and the big explosion hits the national news) [true story: they had the backhoe in the field when they discovered this mysterious pipe in the wrong place... hmmm?]

    So it would go to stand that maybe they should listen to a man who knows the blueprints to the plant by heart, and where to find all these prints.

    GM opened a formal "suggestions" program where they offered real prizes/points for projects that would save the company money. From ways to reduce the number of steps an assembler took to get parts (read: time vehicle sits at one station) to ways to reduce heating/air conditioning costs. The program worked really good and my dad says he submitted dozens of ideas. Of the dozens he submitted, they gave him point awards for, say, a dozen. Of those dozen, maybe four were actually implemented.

    Why mention this here? Even in an organization with thousands of corners for improvement, they still don't listen well and implement even fewer of the things they actually get into their thick skulls. You are no different.

    In fact, if you want to avoid tarnishing your reputation, make your first suggestion be the start of a similar suggestion program whose sole focus is awards go to those whose ideas save the company the most money for the least amount of work. Of course, the program only can last so long or the employees won't think about doing their real job. Prizes were given like credit card companies do their "spend money and get points" reward systems.

  • First, document your method. Demonstrate how it is an improvement over the exisiting or soon to be implemented. Include an implementation plan. Present it to someone involved. Don't force feed it to them. Just ask if they wouldn't mind taking a look at your idea. At this point it's out of your hands. If a decision is made to go with your idea, don't drop the ball and let someone else put it in place. If your idea is not chosen, get over it.
  • Like you I have lots of ideas which I believe to be good and beneficial to my employer, but what I find is that most of them are so "way out", "normal" people can't understand them or see the potential benefit. Usually 5 or 10 years later the world starts to catch up.

    When I was younger I would enthusiastically extoll the virtues of my ideas and suggestions to anyone and everything who would listen, and they'd just shrug me off and dismiss them. It was very frustrating for an earnest and positive-thinking y

  • Your boss is either the type of person who counts critism as constructive or the type of person who counts critism as disloyalty. The first case is so rare and precious that you would have absolutly no doubt that is was the case. Its like a shop with no prices. If you have to ask then you cannot afford it. -FT
  • I agree with a lot that I've read here, particularly with the statements relating management's different view and perspective on almost any issue.

    I work in a pretty small shop, around 25 employees. It provides me with a lot of access to my supervior, and my CEO. When I don't understand a business decision, I find my higher ups pretty easy to talk to, paticularly if I can phrase a question in a non-threatening manner. When I first entered the private sector, I read a copy of "How to Win Friends and Influen

  • Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net], Grumpy Watkins [uklinux.net],

We are Microsoft. Unix is irrelevant. Openness is futile. Prepare to be assimilated.

Working...