Despite nearly 20 years of working with the same VP with whom I admittedly share a love-hate relationship, I am constantly learning the same lesson over and over again. That is, not to put the effort in (or worse request OTHERS to put the effort in) until I know exactly what VP wants or needs.
Yet again, it came down to about 36 hours before our deadline before VP's thoughts gelled on what he needed. This was after I vehemently defended his request when I recruited Amybow for help in herding the cats in our organization around VP's needs. I was confident I was on the same page with him. I was sure that even if we ended up in a slightly different end point, the essence of the research we were doing would be of value - for this assignment as well as others. I was adamant that Amybow stop questioning my direction and just get people moving.
I was wrong. Wrong. WRONG.
This morning VP arrived at 7:45AM bearing pastries for the start of our ALL DAY MEETING and walked into my cubicle and said, "This is what I want my presentation to be....X, Y, Z. "
"VP" I said, "Let me show you what we've done and what we've asked others to provide by tomorrow AM. Here it is as we discussed - A, B, C."
"That's all fine," insisted VP "but I want X, Y, Z."
At this point I began to get irritated (especially given the fact we would be in a meeting all day which is not conducive to producing deadline work)...but we moved into our meeting and I tried to ignore the feeling that Amybow had been right all along. At 2PM, after 6 hours of non-stop discussions in our meeting (unrelated to VP's pending assignment), VP shot me a panicked look and said, "We really need to work on my presentation". We ditched the meeting early with apologies and as we reviewed the presentation it was clear A, B, C was NOT acceptable to VP. As we progressed to outline X, Y, Z, I'm sure I became shrill, short, and not a little pissy. At one point VP put his head in his hands (and I believe he was counting to 10) when I said, "Would have been much better for everyone if we had this discussion last week when we started this."
Finally, as I cooled and he calmed, we started to laugh. More because of how irritated we had become at one another than at the task at hand - which is now annoyingly difficult for an imminent deadline. Snarky but humorous barbs were tossed back and forth to vent our frustration to one another in a healthier way. Sometimes the guy is like a really annoying older brother and I've already got my share of that.
As things settled out, I sought Amybow and proceeded to eat my words of yesterday. Today's mantra is: "You're right Amybow. You're right. I know you're right."