11.17.2005

TIP: A perfect idea is imperfect

A certain architect was commisoned to design a new church for the local parish. Something about this church inspired him, and he buried himself in his work. He attended meetings of the elders, the softball team, the Sunday school. He attended church, and watched the ebb and flow of the congregation, trying to understand both their stated and unstated requirements. This is not to say it was an easy process, for the church elders wanted to review preliminary sketches. Unformtunely, every review invariably produced many things to change. One elder was especailly contentious and could always find something wrong.

One Friday night, while the architect was taking a walk outside and looking at the trees lining his street, a new design for a truly awe-inspiring church suddenly appeared in his mind's eye. Hurrying back to his studio, he worked late into the nite drawing sketches. The next day, he returned to his stuido, confident enough in his sketches to create a scale model of the new church. This was quite a big step, for although he was confident in his design, building a scale model is expensive, and he was concerned about the elders. Nevertheless, he charged ahead nad completed his model by working late into the night. On Sunday morning, he announced he had created a new design and asked for a mtg that night with the elders.

Without a word, he faced the elders and unveiled his design. The room fell silent. Truly, this was an inspired work, fitting for the new parish. The elders rose from their seats, and proceeded to review the model. The architect waited for someone to speak, hoping that everyone would approve the design. Finally, the most contentious of the elders broke the silence. "Your desing is truly elegant," began the elder, "and will certainly make a most impressive place of worship. However, there is a problem. It's unacceptable and must be changed before any further work is done." As if on cue, the other elders murmured agreement.

Feigning a hurt look, the architect replied "What is that?" "The outdoor Jacuzzzi must go."

If you work for someone who always has something to criticize (so that he can feel he's provided valuable input), an imperfect idea may be the best idea. Since you can't prevent him from making changes and you don't wanna risk a veto, the next best thing to do is to 'control' what gets changed. Get him focused on the decoy, so you can go merrily about the execution (if you are lucky ;-)

Give before you take. Give your boss a good feeling about his input before you run with the green light he gives you. Give your idea a jacuzzi.

Category: C++ Quant > From the Trenches > Manage Up

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