10-year plans don't say what needs to be done tomorrow.
January 22, 2013 3:59 PM   Subscribe

How can I better "manage my managers" who can only think in the long-term? They have lots of really great ideas which never go anywhere because they don't schedule people to work on them.

I work in a very small company for a couple, one of which is sometimes in the office. They have wonderful plans for their company, and the employees all agree we have great goals, but we are getting more and more frustrated that we never get to work on them because we are stuck doing day-to-day and/or fire-fighting stuff. I understand this is the money-making side, but to be honest we're only just breaking even. The bosses think their new ideas could be much better money makers, but they don't seem to understand that they need to invest some employee time into research and development to make them really happen. We really can't do what they're suggesting without significant changes to our schedules.

How can I/we talk to them about this? What phrases can I use? I have already suggested we need to build a 'roadmap' and I think they understand that. But every couple weeks there is some new idea, we all chat about it, and then nothing gets done. How can we all break out of this frustrating cycle?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The next time your boss proposes a new idea, can you sketch out a 10-15 minute project plan? It will necessarily be rough, but it seems like you need to be able to have a discussion about what it might take to turn the idea into reality. Hopefully your boss will give you 10-15 minutes and hopefully you can help them see that there are a lot of steps that need to be taken and then that can all lead into a deeper/longer discussion.

There's nothing like a project plan to help people see what it takes to turn an idea into reality.
posted by elmay at 4:48 PM on January 22, 2013

Perhaps check out David Allen's Getting Things Done?
posted by Wild_Eep at 5:16 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ask them for help. "What's something I can do over the next couple of weeks as a first step?" This question has three components: they need to have steps in mind, you want to work on just one step (so it has to be articulable), and it should be accomplishable in a relatively short time-frame. They don't have to list out the entire plan, which they obviously have not thought about, so asking if you can help with the tasks that they need to think about might help focus their goals a little more (hopefully!).
posted by rhizome at 7:26 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

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