Friday, September 11, 2009

Have You Ever Faked It?

Of course I mean at work.

In case you’re still not with me – of course I mean on work projects at work.

I’m not talking about lying on a resume, or anything truly unethical. I am talking about faking your way through a project, or committing to a goal that is clearly unachievable.

After all, it was the only real choice you had at the time. Expectations were high. So, you agreed – secretly hoping that the project would get killed, or that your bosses would forget about it, or that something more important would come up that you would be re-assigned to.

Or maybe your boss asked you – in front of the big bosses – if something was possible. You have no idea whether or not it’s possible, so naturally you say, “Sure, we can do that,” and then scramble to figure out a way to make it happen.

I got pretty good at faking my way through projects. It wasn’t my preference – I liked to be able to see the end before I started – but it became important to have this skill. So, I would assemble a team, I’d give them assignments, I would sound confident (confidence is key to faking it), and I would make believe I knew what I was doing – hoping that at some point it would all make sense. Surprisingly, it usually did!

I later found out there was a name for this management style. I came across a question on a test for a management refresher course that asked which of four answers was not a valid management style. I was certain that “muddling through” had to be the correct answer – that couldn’t possibly be a valid style, could it? Turns out it was.

I felt vindicated.

Now it’s your turn. Fess up… have you ever faked it?


rpatton121 said...

No, perhaps I am too honest for my own good.

When I worked for organizations where I was given unrealistic expectations, I was the rebel, the naysayer. I explained to my bosses the folly of their request and they hated it.

Now I (finally) work for an organization that values my honesty. I can tell my boss "no", back my opinion with facts, and gain respect for my experience.

I hate to say it but you work for a bureaucratic organization that is destined to fail. I hope it is after you have collected your pension.

Jake P. said...

I've lived two lives: about a decade in the corporate world and a decade as a freelance writer and editor. It's easy when you're part of a large organization to do what you're talking about--just blend in with the herd and pray you're not the slowest antelope on that day.

But business owner, it's just me. I can't afford to muddle through--I'd be too exposed. So, either I take on something with conviction or I say no thank you. There are times when I voice my concern about something (e.g., the client chooses a poor tagline or call to action), but I will ultimately execute their vision to the best of my ability.

Interesting question...hope to see other answers.

Steve in POK said...

Is it the same as making it up as you go along?
Then yes, guilty!

Firefly said...

Yes -- it's definitely the same as making it up as you go along!