Pat Egen’s Weblog

Ramblings, chats, thoughts, ideas

Black holes and Boomerangs Revisited

with 3 comments

Back in 2009 I wrote a piece on Black Holes and Boomerangs.  It had nothing to do with science or curved wooden implements.  I almost kept a small boomerang when I came back from Australia in April because of my prior post.  I have written that as a blog article, a magazine post, and turned it into a speech.  Now I wish I had that real Aussie boomerang to hang on my wall.  Because they’re BACK.  Like THE MOVIE.  You know which movie.

I have to work on a pretty intensive project that is going to keep me busy possibly forever – no kidding aside.  So, I have embarked on pushing projects out to people on my staff. I have to.  The projects won’t get done unless I do this and trust them.  Well, there you go.  It’s the trust them part that is failing.  Because I did.  And it failed. And they are back in my court.  Boomerangs.  There are two to four black holes out there that I probably need to follow up on because they will never become boomerangs.  They will just hang and languish with the hopes that nobody notices they are missing in action.

Ring a bell with you? It should.  It happens all the time.  All over the world.  It just can’t happen in my world because too many external things are going on right now and I need people bellying up to the bar so to speak.  And not drinking.  And not turning the project back to me – which is the boomerang part – or letting the project drift off into never never land never to be heard from again – which is the black hole part.

And I am at a loss as to what to do.  I just confronted said guilty parties and got the classic “duh, dear in head lights, surely you can’t mean me, I am innocent, obviously you  are a crazed women” look. Gosh I hate that look.  I want to take paint varnish and smear it off their faces. It’s like they think I am stupid or something. My goodness, can you tell I am upset.

We are at a crossroads here.  I need people standing up and taking charge.  Instead, I am surrounded by ostriches. My task for the day will be to figure out a way to inspire these people to get the heck out of ostrich-dom and take responsibility.  Ah, but this is not an easy thing to do – especially when they are family.  Ah, family in the business.  Gee, that’s another blog article.

I have empowered them.  I have stepped away and not hovered over them.  I’ve done all the things I should do to make them responsible.  But it is not happening. Next mission is to figure out how to motivate non-motivatable people.  Is that a word? Should be.  Ah, that will be my next blog article.

So, on a less than spectacular day, I bid you adieu while I go off to Googleland to look up how to deal with deadbeats.

For those interested, here’s the link to the original blog post. By the way – the same people are involved. Sigh.  Some things never change.

Written by pregen

July 30, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Hi Pat,

    Just wondering if you have a Job management system and Project management system that you record all your work in?

    We found that running this allowed us to log all the data so it could be managed. Our main mgt tool is an exception report that picks up what we term ‘un-managed jobs’ and a daily review of that report.

    This ensures that any job that is in-complete that shouldn’t be can be re-scheduled into the diary of a consultant on a future date, thus becoming ‘managed’ again.

    It’s been our experience that there are always jobs in this report. I think that’s to be expected, stuff happens as they say. However, the reasons why they are there are interesting, sometimes it’s because another job un-expectedly required more time and the now un-managed job couldn’t be attended to, or it could be that the un-managed job couldn’t be completed due to technical reasons. In the case of the latter, it’s ideal having these jobs come to immediate attention so other members of the team can collaborate or the manager can provide some strategic advice on how to approach the situation. What this prevents is something that was agreed to be done but wasn’t (for whatever reason) being hidden in a ‘too-hard basket’ out of sight somewhere.

    I’ve found if I stop monitoring this report daily in a short meeting, the list blows out. If it blows out, that’s when we I get the Boomerangs (usually a call from the client), also if it blows out, it takes a lot of admin resources to re-schedule it all to bring it back into line. Keeping on top of it is the key for us. I’ve found that since having this system I know what the problems are and I therefore don’t need to worry about what might have slipped through the cracks.

    Hope that helps in some way.

    BTW, we currently use custom tables for our Job and Project mgt system, although I’m looking to move to Xact Software’s Time and Billing. This will give us the ability to manage job data in the acitivity table and some neat features such as job scheduling from the calendar. Also, you can convert jobs straight to invoices into MYOB/QuickBooks which is something that we need to alleviate some of our admin overhead. The other product we use is Stonefield Query for automated exception reporting. Love Stonefield Query!

    Cheers, Darren.

    Darren Flood

    July 31, 2012 at 7:50 am

    • Forgot to mention we do all this out of ACT!, which you may have gathered. Time is the only resource we have to apply our staff to jobs and that should be managed from the calendar or task list, which is ACT! space of course.

      Darren Flood

      July 31, 2012 at 7:54 am

    • Hey Darren. Thanks for the great comments. We too use ACT to keep track of jobs. We also use Google Docs and keep a common project folder. the problem with the tables is I can’t see everything all in one place without running a report. The tool isn’t the issue here though, it’s the stepping up and managing why things don’t get done. That somehow needs to happen in a weekly staff meeting. I’ve pretty much come to that conclusion. Maybe people just need to bounce off ideas in a common area. I’ll keep the blog posted on how that works out.


      July 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm

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