The Ambush

Back in the spring our company held an ‘employee opinion survey,’ where we could anonymously give feedback on how things were going. I’ve discussed it previously and it was a mess. We were constrained to only answering the questions they offered with check boxes, no chance to discuss concerns outside of those questions, etc. And then of course our team had our manager gather us into a conference room to ask us all point blank about our answers so that they could, like, fix it. Yeah. Kinad hurt the anonymity there.

One of the other problems that ended up being discussed, though not directly as a result of this, was how we implement tech solutions into the production environment. There are lots of problems with the plans to implement each item, so they decided to form a HOT group, which is apparently an acronym but hell if I know what for. I’m part of this group.

The purpose is for all of us, no managers allowed, to get into heated yet friendly arguments over the problems, and through this to work our a solution. We’ve come up with a lot of good ideas. Last week’s session we were given homework: split up into groups of three or four to make recommendations on certain items, to be presented.

This week we did the presenting, but whoops, surprise for all of us, we had three managers and an architect join in to judge our responses. Literally to judge them, holding up numbers and everything. And when they didn’t like an item a group presented, they said so. Hurting the whole ‘no managers’ thing. Later the team facilitator, sensing something wrong, said that this was a good opportunity to guage their responses before we formally submit our recommendations and run the risk of management saying ‘this isn’t what we wanted.’ Err, wait, aren’t we the subject matter experts you asked to come up with OUR solutions?

So the hot group has suddenly suffered a liquid nitrogen freeze and the discussions have more or less gone completely silent. Whoops. Way to compromise the team, guys. Actually I think we even have one individual who may be asking to be reassigned as a result after said judges got a tad harsh with their criticism.

Sigh. 90% of the problems with any corporation’s efficiency and employee morale could be solved by firing 90% of middle management.