Today we had an exchange at work that made me laugh and cry. It was tragedy, comedy, drama and irony.
And it was available to me for free!
In fact, I participated.
Back in May, new business limitations for another country were passed on to us. The deadline associated with it was 12/15/2012.
We went into scramble mode. Vetted the information. Set up meetings. Created presentations and business plans. Requested money.
All went by senior management and everyone else and was approved.
It was a cursed project from the beginning. New parts, no longer made, needed to be located, bought, tested and destroyed as part of a certification process. We established timelines, created cross-functional teams, discovered new obstacles, negotiated stocking levels, found the monies and resources, overcame the new obstacles, confronted more obstacles and surmounted those.
But this week brought more exasperation and headache. More limitations. Scramble mode was initiated once again. Then somone wrote today, don't know where you guys got these limitations. They don't exist.
My jaw dropped to the floor. Anger suffused me. I leaped to my computer and reconstructed the email thread. Yep, there it all was.
"We thought it was a US restriction to us," came back the other country's reply.
Now, to be kind, that's unbelievable twisting of what was presented. The cases, previous emails, and presentations all stated that this need was established because country X had impose X limitations, not that the US had imposed limitations on country X.
So all of that work, time and stress....
Then, of course I laughed. I had to. It was an example of an amazing farce about how meaningless so much we do actually is.
Then I found pluses to take away. The deadline no longer meant anything so all that stress and worry was gone. We'd discovered a great deal about doing business with this country and had learned more about doing business in our company.
More, it validated what I suspected, that many things go along by inertia. Emails and presentations are unread, unassimilated and unchallenged by many. Many people seem to be going through the motions. There's a lot of them on the senior levels.
Either that, or the other country and business unit were being dupicitous and using us to fulfill another agenda.
But I can't believe that would ever happen in business.
After venting and laughing and canceling meetings, I re-evaluated my list of things to do and decided I'm going to take a walk, get some coffee, and do some writing.
Maybe that project wasn't cursed after all.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com