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Ask the Expert – Taking the Initiative

By: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP | Jul 21, 2020

Ted Miller_200x200Question: I find myself in a situation where the senior management who would normally direct my department recently left the organization. How do you suggest I operate until the new senior managers are hired?

Answer: Depending on the amount of time you have been with the organization I assume that even with the previous senior managers you knew what needed to be accomplished. While many senior managers want the appearance that they control everything, in reality it is the department heads or department managers that run the operation. Look at the duties you need to perform and move forward. At a later date when new senior staff is hired you can update them on your department’s progress. Never just sit and wait for direction – Take the Initiative!

Question: We are in a situation where we have some business decisions to make and would normally have certain senior staff sign off on them, but they will not be available for more than a week. Should we move forward or sit and wait for formal approval?

Answer: There is a phrase we use quite often in our industry, and it certainly applies in this situation: “You can always beg for forgiveness rather than ask permission.” More than likely you know what the correct decision should, be, so make the decision. If you have a subordinate who is not comfortable moving forward then either explain the situation in detail for them to better understand why you are making this particular decision or simply tell them that you will assume any issues if they surface later. Most decisions cannot wait, so move forward!

Question: We are faced with some department heads that take an inordinate amount of time to make a decision. Even when they make a decision it does not normally address the issues that face us. How do you suggest we handle such an individual?

Answer: This situation is not uncommon, and if it is allowed to persist the organization will come to a halt. There are some decisions that you already know the answer, so I suggest you make the decision and inform the manager that you have handled it for them. Many times it can be prudent to tell the manager that you have seen them in action and made the decision based on their past leadership. Sometimes appealing to someone’s ego can help enable you to move forward with what might be an obvious choice.

Final Point – never delay a decision that should be made. Delay will usually compound the problem and create more issues that now also need to be resolved.



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