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We recently got one of our items on our list automated, but now we have no support for the process. I am now being asked to report on the success but do not feel comfortable with the data, while management won’t let me stress the concern. What should I do?

That is a tough place to be. It sounds like leadership is coming in with a solution, thinking that it will solve all the organization’s problems. This leadership approach might be categorized under “Command and Control” since there is no option for discussion about implementing it. Or, it’s a corporate mandate of some kind. It’s tough to stay engaged when something like this happens, right? I’m sorry you have to deal with it. I could give you lots of different suggestions, but what it really comes down to, is your comfort level about discussing it with management. Here are some options that I’ve seen occur:

  1. Some just do what they’re told by management
  2. Some compromise for a while until they can’t stand it anymore and bring it up again
  3. Some have a visceral reaction and feel as though they might be providing false information and may feel as though it is a personal affront on their integrity and they make it known

My approach would be to try to really understand what they are trying to accomplish with the rollout and if these actions are going to deliver what they want. If not, build a business case to show them why this plan isn’t going to work with a suggestion about how to adjust the plan to get the results they want.

Tracy O'Rourke

Tracy is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. She is also a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Instructor at UC San Diego and teaches in San Diego State University’s Lean Enterprise Program. For almost 20 years, she has helped leading organizations like Washington State, Charles Schwab and GE build problem-solving muscles.