40 hours a week, 80 hours into the job; there’s bound to be a management instruction (from you) causing outages or impact to the customer. Compounded by your desire and haste to win brownie points from the CEO and “Platinum Level Customers”, the order was executed without proper change management procedures or fall back plans.
Principles of Selective Amnesia
- Never leave any written proof of your instructions.
That means no instructions over email. It should always be verbally communicated. Email and sms is one sure way of being reminded of the instructions which you have conveniently repressed.
- While explaining the situation. Never provide instruction details
Keep it high level, with a solid, almost impossible dateline. I want the VP to have the new spanking Outlook/Exchange email by lunch (This is after the team has spent 32 hours hacking the smtp file to setup the exchange server in the first place).
- When shit happens, start the interrogation first; practice this hard as you need to be an Oscar level actor
Look at your no.1 guy straight in the eye and ask him calmly.
“Do you know anything about the exchange server going down during lunch time?”, in which case, the ever zealous newbie will reply,
“yeah… we tried to provide email to the VP …” and your stoic answer would be an almost awed and surprised.
“Oh (eyes wide, mouth opened), I didn’t even know about that, this shall be investigated (squeeze your brows together) and we’ll have to report the person that did this to the CEO”. A short, snappy and stern display of amnesia.
The colour of your staff will turn pale now, and at the slightest hint of indignation or a comeback, quickly exit the conversation. But not before sneaking in
“Prepare a report for me and we’ll see the CEO together”
Here’s the takeaway, your staff will potentially be pretty pissed cause you’re the one that issued the instructions, however, he can’t do anything, as by admitting the act, he’ll stand out as the perpetrator.
The duality of the situation will be so divisive that eventually, the answer in the report will be a story about how the server suddenly reboots itself before the team could even do anything.
Alas, you have created a disciple, truly, one who is capable of beguiling himself and you of the real incident. Indeed, you are one step closer to become a Dark Management Master.