Which will you choose – the 2 step or 4 step?

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When it come to being a messenger - we all should receive a Kevlar vest.

So you have bad news - you feel that the upper management will not like to hear about it.  Here are two options.

The Harvard Business Review recommends a simple 4 step process:


  1. Describe. Provide a general overview of the problem, and explain the impact. Be sure to position this in terms of what matters to your manager.

  2. Identify a solution. Recommend a specific solution or approach, along with alternatives.

  3. Analyze your solution. Share the pros and cons and explain the implications. Be prepared to discuss the risks or barriers that may be of concern to your boss.

  4. Accept responsibility. Let your manager know that you are willing to take the responsibility for the outcome of your proposed approach.


Or you could use the Two Step:

  1. Lift carpet. Find somewhere to put the problem out of sight - out of mind.

  2. Sweep. Keep sweeping the carpet out of the bosses sight line.


Which is going to be the easiest.  I question which method will become the de facto standard if some other forces are not at play.  What might those other forces be?

What would happen if your management gave you a 3rd option?  Simpler than the first two options.

Just make it Visible.

Simple - one step process.  Then we decide what to do.  We use group processes to identify multiple solutions before converging to "the one solution."

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