Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Artful Coworkers

Employees may spend a fair amount of effort (especially in larger corporations where you find a concentration of regulatory specialists) mining the veins of gold sequestered away between the seams of operations and regulations. Sometimes this is explicitly an objective of management, at other times it is an implicit cultural undercurrent.

How you approach and handle this probably is more influenced by your ethos and personal beliefs than any of your other working relationships.

Society's regulations have both a written and an intentional form; the two are similar but not the same. To me, the intent of the law carries more weight than the letter of the law. You or your coworkers may disagree with the intent of the law, but unless you have a very clear and deep understanding of how the law came about you run a serious risk if violating its intent.

Resolving differences of opinion on this matter should be one of the first things you do before starting any large project that has a potential to move any boundary that affects this balance.

A full 65 to 75 percent of the politics of analysis happens on the boundary between employees and customers. Their interests are misaligned in any business because the distribution of profit margins either goes to one (in the form of wages) or to the other (in the form of competitive pricing). And you are developing a project that will impact sales or profit margin, because otherwise you wouldn't be working on it.

How this boundary moves however is none of your business, it is beyond your concern. Yet at the same time your analysis will sink into the mucky depths of oblivion unless you manage the politics of this boundary to appeal to both sides.

To the employees you must present an image that your creation will make their life easier without jeopardizing their jobs. To the customers (vis a vis the management) you need to present an end point that affords them greater efficiencies and value for their dollar. You may be unable to guarantee that you can sufficiently meet both targets, but it should be your objective nevertheless.