Getting People to Answer

What do you do when people in the workplace ignore you, even though you need them for work? How can you use influence when you don’t have raw power, to get answers?

A Navy Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) came into my office recently. “Sir, I have emailed Lt. Col X several times and she hasn’t answered yet. All I get is radio silence. Could you help?” This young officer was voicing a concern that I hear frequently; someone that they are trying to work with, or get something from, wasn’t answering. Or at least they weren’t answering fast enough to suit us at higher headquarters. When faced with such a problem, many junior staffers go to the Boss, hoping that he or she will contact the person and get immediate results. Sometimes if the issue is urgent that is the right approach. Sometimes even going directly to the boss of Lt. Col X is the best approach. Often, however, it is better for the junior staffer to get the information themselves, and there are many ways to do that. I have been faced with similar problems in the past and have learned the hard way that, unless the issue is urgent, I need to exhaust my options for resolving problems, such as radio silence from someone I am supposed to work with, before going further up the chain.

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Gettysburg Sesquicentennial 2013

Photographs of the re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg, Civil War, Sesquicentennial June

2013

Useful Quotations on World War 2

Pithy Prose for Politicians, Preachers, Professors, Pundits, and Public Speakers.

Many Japanese believed the United States to be a hollow shell, it’s people divided politically, softened by luxurious living and decadent morals, no match for the tough, disciplined men of Japan. Gordon Prange, author of At Dawn We Slept

Japan has faced many worthy opponents in her glorious history – Mongols, Chinese, Russians – but in this operation we will meet the strongest and most resourceful opponent of all. Isoroku Yamamoto, CINC of Japanese combined fleet prior to Pearl Harbor

It is the custom of bushido to select an equal or stronger opponent.  On this score you have nothing to complain about – the American navy is a good match for the Japanese navy. Isoroku Yamamoto, CINC of Japanese combined fleet prior to Pearl Harbor

What a strange position I find myself in – having to pursue with full determination a course of action which is diametrically opposed to my best judgement and firmest conviction. That too, perhaps, is fate.  Isoroku Yamamoto, CINC of Japanese combined fleet prior to Pearl Harbor

Since even one or two reshuffles in the high ranking posts would influence the morale of the whole fleet, I do not want to see any change at this moment.  Isoroku Yamamoto, CINC of Japanese combined fleet prior to Pearl Harbor

Too many steersmen will send the ship climbing the mountain. Japanese proverb

Even a rabbit will bite if it is fooled three times. Japanese proverb