Need advice-Not sure what to do

Discussion in 'Self Improvement and Being Successful' started by Someone_in_the_UK, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. Someone_in_the_UK

    Someone_in_the_UK
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    Dear Fellow Bloggers

    I hope some of you could provide me with some advice as I have a problem and not sure what to do about it.

    I am a middle manager and I work for a Company that has several high profile clients. Since my Company is a new start up (less than 3 years since inception) there have been some definite cracks in the project planning within the Company-mainly around resource. The Company agreed to deliver a service to one of our clients but agreed to do so with less staff than what their client had in order to save the client money.

    Over the last year (since starting) both myself and my colleague have advised my Senior Manager and Operations Manager that the resource model currently in place is not working. We have many within our teams that are really feeling stressed and overworked and can not continue to carry on in the capacity they are currently working. We have had several people who have already gone off work on long term sick (heart attack, stress and pregnancy related illnesses). We have been consistently warning that if they do not bring in more resource we will surely fail in what our client expects us to deliver. Sadly, our voices have not been actioned as it still continues on.

    Because there is a current recruitment freeze now, it is even less likely that we will be getting any new resource (even a temporary worker) as recruitment is at a stand still.
    Our client as just employed someone who has been brought in to interface between us and them. He will be looking at any issues that we are having and then bring that back to the client so that there is a line of communications. This now brings me to my dilemma.

    This new person spoke with me and my colleague yesterday. My Senior manager was aware that we would be speaking with him and gave us permission to highlight areas of concern constructively. After spending a few hours with this person, he agreed that we did not have enough resource within our teams but that they (the client) would be unwilling in this current economic climate to agree to pay for any new people. He then proceeded to blame our manager's for the situation that we are in.

    He basically gave me and my colleague a choice: either say it is going to fail on service delivery due to lack of resource and throw our Senior Manager's under the bus or continue on and we could end up being the fall guys for the situation at hand. Mind you, he said it in a very clever way without actually saying those exact words.

    Now, I have never been the type of person that would through someone to the wolves to save my own skin. However, I need this job as I have bills, kids, etc. I want to do the right thing but feel as though if I approach my Senior manager this could all go horribly wrong and somehow get turned around on myself. I know they will immediately confront our client about this and this may provoke this new person (the one I spoke to yesterday) to come after me in a form of resentment.

    If they (the client) are gunning for my Manager's head on a platter and I tell on them then they will be confronted. If confronted, they may turn their focus on me and I might become a scapegoat.

    I am so confused and concerned about this situation and would appreciate any advice that you could give me. There is a lot more detail that I failed to mention but this is the main gest of my problem.

    If any of you have been in a similar situation, I would like to know how you handled this and possibly your outcome.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    C
     
  2. pakiboyg

    pakiboyg
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    So so big problem i think you should low down it a little bit to get some good replies.
     
  3. Fergal

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    Welcome to Business Advice Forum Someone_in_the_UK and sorry to hear about the situation you have found yourself in. It is difficult to give you specific advice on what to do, without knowing the full details of the situation. Your first loyalty should be to your employer. However, that doesn't mean that you should keep quiet about the company's weaknesses, threats or opportunities to improve.

    My suggestion would be to arrange a chat with your senior managers. Prepare for this meeting carefully and outline your client's concerns. If your client has informed you that he / she is not happy with certain aspects of the service that you are delivering to them, it is your obligation to tell the people in your company who can do something about it and to tell them as soon as possible - the situation is not going to get any better unless positive action is taken to resolve it.

    When preparing for the meeting with your senior managers spend some time thinking about possible solutions for the problem and outline these solutions at the meeting. This way, you are highlighting the problem and offering positive suggestions as to how it could be resolved.

    Once again, I'd say that it is important that you inform the relevant people in your company, about your client's concerns and to inform them very soon.

    Good luck with it all and please do post back with your thoughts.
     
  4. Kay

    Kay
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    I would also put in black and white what you plan to talk to your manager about. You can then give them a copy at the meeting and keep yourself one, and preferably an extra one offsite. That way there is a record that you tried to discuss it with them if things go belly up and your manager starts looking for a scapegoat. Simply put it across to your manager that you wanted to make sure you didn't forget to bring anything up. It's a good thing to do anyway for that reason.

    I would imagine that this middleman will be reporting back to the client his findings whether you go ahead and do so or not. I'm surprised your company has agreed to allow this person to be brought in instead of attempting to resolve it internally. If I were your company's owner, I'd be suspicious that the client was looking to build a case against me. After all, your owner told him the job could be done. It obviously can't, and now he wants to know why.

    Even if that's not the case, that's not a healthy environment to be working in if it's so stressful. I would be looking for alternative employment sooner rather than later.
     
  5. Fergal

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    Why do you say that? It's not unusual, especially nowadays, for a company's resources to be stretched and it's not unusual for a client company to appoint a single person to manage a supplier relationship. The key is to have open communication and to do the best with the resources that are available to us, whilst at the same time exploring ways of securing additional resources.

    The situation as described by the original poster doesn't sound that bad to me, to be honest. The client is not so disappointed that they have pulled the business or anything like that. They would like to see some improvements and have allocated someone in their organisation to work with the supplier. This could actually be an opportunity for Someone_in_the_UK to get good feedback from the client and to work with them to improve on the delivery of the project - to the benefit of everyone involved.
     
  6. Remotestaff

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    in situations like these, it's every man for himself. The best thing here is to stay where you are but stay quiet and just stick to the status quo.

    Keep to the schedule of the projects' delivery but make sure you always "cover your own ass" by documenting everything involved with the affected project delivery -- maintain a detailed QA audit trail so that you can always refer to a project's production history, keep an inventory of production man hours, monitor task activities of involved resources... The bottom-line here is: Stay on top of everything, so whenever you are asked to account for something about the project, you can always provide specific answers.

    At the end of the day, just say to yourself that this too shall pass. It's probably just a phase and it's just 6 months to go before the year ends. Who knows? 2011 may be a better year for everyone involved.

    Hang in there, mate.

    Cheers
     
  7. Kay

    Kay
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    Well, when you put it that way... :). It didn't sound good to my ears at all but then I have a sister that did that troubleshooting kind of work so maybe I've been listening to her for too long. Usually when she's called in it's to see where the problem lies and often that results in someone getting fired that didn't do their job right and in the process pissed off a major client. I hope you're right and that's the way it turns out. I'd just not be willing to take the chance. And working for a boss that makes unrealistic promises is never good.
     
  8. Fergal

    Fergal
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    I know what that's like, not nice at all. :( Hopefully the Original Poster will post back and give us an update.
     
  9. Someone_in_the_UK

    Someone_in_the_UK
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    Hi All,

    Thank you for all of your advice regarding my blog. It seems like there is varied difference of opinions.
    To give an update, I ended up telling my boss what happened. I was honest without giving him a full blow-by-blow account. In other words, I sugar-coated it to a degree so it didn't sound as bad as what it really is. My boss took it very well, didn't seem too bothered by it if I am honest. Now, he has started to become buddy buddy with this guy (the one who I originally posted about). I guess that makes him clever as you know what they say "keep your friend close but your enemies closer".
    I do still feel that I will inevitably be thrown under the bus when things come to a full blown head as every situation requires a scapegoat. However, hopefully my boss will keep in mind my loyalty and spare me should that day ever come. Even though I am NOT to blame at all for this situation it always seems like the middle managers do end up getting the blame.
    Just to let you know, I have started to post my CV with other employers and hopefully I will find something suitable in the near future.
    Again, thank you for all of your responses. It has been very helpful.
    Regards,
    C
     
  10. Fergal

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    Thanks for posting back with an update C, hopefully your employer will recognise your loyalty and it will all work out positively for you.
     

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