There you are at home, enjoying life surrounded by nice things and fun people. Then the dog comes up, smiles right at you and pees on your good carpet.
What’s a person to do? Yell, scream, rub their nose it in? Does any of that really work? At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Wait, did I mistakenly log into the Puppiesarecute.com?” Nope, you’re in the right place. Read on, my workplace learning friends.
Now just imagine it’s management who has just peed on your carpet. Stay with me. We’ve all been in that situation where we’re working away on the best.idea.ever. Then in comes the boss; he smiles at you and then pees on your carpet. It’s easy to look at the offensive puddle and have a tantrum over the stain and mess. You may stomp and posture “How dare he?” He just peed directly on my project! The one that will create world peace! UGH! Usually after we calm down, we realize that we had raised our blood pressure, and scared the dog to no avail. In Learning and Development, there is always someone who wants to pee on your carpet.
However, there are a few preventative measures we can take and keep our projects safe.
- Watch for the signs. A puppy will usually walk in circles and become more active than normal. Is this the behavior your manager is displaying? Are they circling your office? Management requires information. More often than not, good projects are peed on because of a lack of understanding or poor communication. When you see the boss circling your doorway, be sure to acknowledge the action and share some information.
- Be proactive. A puppy usually needs to go directly after they have eaten. In this case, a meal for your manager is partaking in a big meeting. Be sure to touch base after you learn they have been to a meeting where your project was up for discussion. Better yet, go to the boss before the meeting and supply him with volumes of information and updates. Go to him before he comes to you and…you know…pees on your carpet.
- Establish realistic expectations. A puppy needs to go out directly after getting super excited and now your manager is getting super excited about your project. You know what’s going to happen next, don’t you? Yep, he’ll pee. Don’t let the boss go away being super excited without some realistic follow-up on your paradigm shifting project. A project plan with accurate dates, costs and business benefits will shift the project back to reality. Also, always remember to connect your project to business critical issues; this will keep the excitement at a high level and off your carpet.
- Understand that pee happens. Sounds obvious, but sometimes we just want to get angry. This is a natural reaction, I mean the dog just peed on your nice carpet. But now is the time to just get a grip and grab a towel. After you clean up, you may still believe that your project is worth the house-breaking effort. Go for it. Start over, take note of the signs above, learn how to recognize them and circumvent the management from having an over-reactive bladder. If the dog peed, perhaps you weren’t paying attention. What is your plan to change your approach?
- Clean it up. Regardless of your next steps, you still have to clean it up, right? This may mean shelving this project for the next item on the priority list. Clean it up by writing a follow-up report stating why the project is being shelved and send it your manager. This keeps her up-to-date and alerting her that you are on the Plan-B. Be sure to keep your notes, log your thoughts and ideas; it could be that the puppy isn’t ready to pee in the rain just yet. Keep an eye for the signs when the project should be tackled again and are ready for your idea. When that time comes, be prepared to jump on the opportunity.
- Understand the why. You cannot ignore the puddle, now you need to ask that all-important question, “Why, dear puppy, why do you insist on peeing on my carpet?” This is the one-on-one with your boss. What is the thought/reasoning behind the action? Was there anything you could have done to prevent the bladder overload? Take good notes; let them know that you will address the concerns and make improvements with the next project. Accept that the puppy peed; there’s no changing that reality.
Notice I’m not addressing management (um, puppies) who pee on purpose. You know, the ones that want to test you or because they have behavioral issues that only Cesar Millan could solve. That is out of scope, as consultants would say. But I wouldn’t be a Rebel if I didn’t suggest that you may want to consider a new pee-proof carpet (if you get my drift). One can only live with stinky carpet for so long.
Being in a relationship with your puppy means that you must be vigilant in your observations and clear in your communications. You must take the puppy out often, more often than you think is necessary. Not unlike good communication techniques, talk early and talk often. Let the puppy decide when they want to come back inside. Perhaps then, you will have fewer puddles littering your office.
When was the last time the puppy peed on your carpet? What did you do? Did you take any proactive steps to try to mitigate it from happening again? Please share your house-breaking experiences!