Agile & Digital / Matrix Management / Virtual Teams

The strange case of Sam Bodee and Dee Bizness – corporate heroes

We meet some talented people on our training programs from some great organisations around the world. Some of them don’t get the appreciation they deserve, and we’d like to call out a couple of people we hear a lot about on our programs.

They are Sam Bodee and his colleague Dee Bizness. They are apparently responsible for making things clear for other people and for making major decisions across many organisations.

You hear them invoked regularly by people who are frustrated about a lack of progress. “Sam Bodee needs to make this clear” or “Dee Bizness needs to make up its mind what it’s going to do about this”.

It is difficult to know how they do this as these two people never actually attend our training programs, maybe they are too busy?

The surprising thing is, given how seldom they actually do make things clear or make the decisions quickly, why do we keep relying on them? Surely in large organisations there are lots of other people who could get involved?

The reality in large organisations is that each of us has to take more responsibility for owning our own clarity and driving for the decisions we need to be successful. If we sit back and wait for someone else to do this for us, we will often be disappointed.

Now I know we often don’t have the full authority to make decisions like this but if it’s a problem for us we do need to be active you making a proposal or covering the necessary stakeholders to make progress. If we do not, there is a good chance the lack of clarity or the missing decision will continue.

It is also true that when we come to our year end appraisal, the fact that something was not clear or that you were waiting for a decision isn’t usually seen as a good excuse for poor performance.

So next time you find yourself or a colleague relying on Sam or Dee, ask them to be more specific, who is the specific individual you are relying on and let’s get in touch with them to see if they’re actually doing this. If they are not, what can we do to initiate the process to bring clarity or to reach a decision.

In my corporate career I had one role where I reported to a steering group of 10 HR directors. I often found myself unable to get clarity from such a diverse group of stakeholders. After trying for a while I would summarise my plan of action and email people telling them what I was going to do and to let me know within seven days if they disagreed. They rarely did.

This may or may not work in your corporate culture, but the principle remains – take ownership and actively create the clarity and decisions that you need to succeed.

You can find out more about how to do this in our matrix training program around creating clarity and managing ambiguity  (click on the module in our interactive learning path).

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