Impressed by anger

Au urgent meeting was convened to discuss the ramifications of a further  2 week delay in the “go-live roll out” for a software project which was to impact 50,000 cable-TV users in Australia.  Australian cable companies are presently fielding customer anger because customers have paid for, yet not received, this delayed service.

Invited to the meeting were Arthur from the Australia (the account manager), Arturo ( a developer) from Mexico, Erez (a developer)  from Israel and Tim (master scheduler)  from Germany. Arthur is based in Australia; all the others are US based company HQ.

Tim came into the conference room 5 minutes early and mentioned that he has yet to receive an agenda.

Erez called into the meeting because he had to take his kids to a school play and one could hear his wife castigating him in the background: “why don’t you go and live at work”? The quality of Erez’s connection was also unclear and he got cut off three times.

Arturo came into the meeting 20 minutes late, asked everyone how things are going. Then  just as the meeting was coming to end, Arturo said, “I have a few important issues that are not on the agenda which impact the estimation of readiness for deployment”. Arturo then communicated really bad new of even a further delay of 6 weeks. Arturo suggested that Arthur “bargain for an extension”.

Account manager Arthur maintained his cool until Arturo suggested bargaining for an extension with Australian client. “Listen mate, you can bargain in Mexico, but not in Australia!” Arturo fought back; Arthur got furious and lost his cool. Erez added: “This is the first time I see you really care about the delay, Arthur; we can help you by working weekends!” Both Erez and Arturo had been really impressed by Arthur’s anger.

Tim mentioned that the plan would need to be adjusted to reflect reality. “We need to be transparent” stated Tim, who seemed irrelevant in the semi Levantine reality in this post modern team. Arturo and Erez just don’t get Tims’ hang up on transparency. Erez and Arturo view transparency as counterproductive to managing (not meeting) customer expectations.

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6 thoughts on “Impressed by anger

  1. Sounds like a normal operating organization to me…

    Sometimes, one has to ‘show anger’ just to get people’s attention… ‘anger’ is a natural human element… for too, too long organizations have been too polite to the point that they have become impotent and sterile (deficient in originality or creativity; lacking powers of invention) in their relationships and norms.

    It is always interesting that the corporate / HR mantra is ‘authenticity’ (the property of being genuine or valid, not being a fake or forgery) …but when one is ‘being themselves’, one can be ostracized, labeled and segregated… (go figure)…

    On another point – the whole ‘development /self-improvement’ deal is based on becoming ‘semi-gods’ of perfection (just read any book or attend a workshop on ‘leader’), of which no one can ever achieve… ‘perfectionism’ is not just unattainable but sets up a standard and norm of ‘judgement’…

    I think organizations have ‘sold-out’ to the expert trainers, workshop facilitators and HR people who foist their mantras on others…

    Maybe it is time to ‘get real’ and allow people to be, well human… IMHumbleO…

  2. Patrick,
    Your comment on HR foisting their mantras on others is right on. Over the course of my forty years, however, I have noticed a shift in how HR has recruited and developed its people. In several organizations where I have consulted, it used to be that one could not join HR until s/he had spent time in operations, often including a stay at first line supervision. Now, it seems, HR recruits directly from freshly college groomed people who operate with the bookish heritage they arrive with. Many never experience operations and are therefore left with only « mantras » to foist. HR has long lost its place as a strategic business enabler (safe a few exception) and is held more and more as process driven appendix that manage transactions and a cost item to the organization.

  3. It was “push coming to shove” ! People always think the British stiff upper lip will prevail and are ‘shocked ‘ when they really lose it! Obviously it is better (in my opinion )to keep things calm and neutral in terms of emotion in a professional context but this can lead to gross misunderstandings and/or stalemate. Emotions are human and at times you just have to show that someone has just gone too far -show the human side even if it is a negative emotion (again -in my view) . As we see from the story is can lead to a new respect …

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