By Mark Inboden
I used to have a manager who was really adamant about having details on projects I was working on; status reports about my area; and a copy of my updated calendar. She was very insistent that she receive her status reports on time, and would have her assistant follow-up on anything that was more than 30 minutes past due.
One day, I asked her why she needed so many reports from me, when others in the area could give her updates on many of the items at any time. She answered, "What if you get hit by a bus? What if something happens and you can’t get to work, or become involved in an accident?"
She explained that besides it being a tragedy that I would get hurt by the bus, events out of everyone’s control happen daily, and there should always be another person who has your back, and thus the company’s back. Other people might have “an idea of what you are working on,” but that is far different than you proactively giving updates, plans and actual schedules of your work.
Does someone in your organization ask you for status reports, but you don’t see any value in the reports? Do you ask for reports but get pushback? Maybe you should take a second and ask yourself, "What if I or one of my direct reports gets hit by a bus?” Am I or my staff doing enough to prepare others to carry on with daily business in the event of an emergency? Events might be out of our control, but preparing for unexpected events should be in everyone’s job descriptions.
Mark is CEO and President of UCEC.