God's Little Chew Toy
What do you do with people who seem to have a dark cloud perpetually hanging over their heads? The ones who seem to be plagued with misfortune? Where do you draw the line between sensitivity to individuals and the need for Carpe Factum? WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN JOB IS ON YOUR PROJECT TEAM?
I've had project team members who have experienced deaths in the family, car troubles, house troubles, kid troubles, spouse troubles, pet troubles... all in the course of a few business days or weeks. As people, we interact with our environments. Stuff happens to us. Some of it is a consequence of our own poor choices. Some of it is just nasty coincidence. As project managers, we need to balance that understanding of things that happen with the passion to accomplish our goals. We build in assumptions to our plans, and build contingencies for risks, but when and how do we make the decision that enough is enough?
The key questions to ask when faced with "God's Little Chew Toy" (OK, OK, I understand that I risk a lightning strike from use of that term):
- Are there other people who can fill in for the GLCT on your team?
- Is there anything fishy about the GCLT's claims (i.e., are they real or are excuses and cover-ups being made)?
- How good of a performer is the GLCT? (Let's face facts... we provide A LOT more latitude to people who are high performers and get caught in a round of bad luck than we do to the WUHOTS of the world... )
- What are the impacts of the GLCT's woes to the project and to the other team members?
It's all situational. I know. It's been 15 years since my dad and I were both diagnosed with cancer within months of each other. I survived; he lost his battle. I was grateful that I had people providing me with a lot of latitude at that time, and it's affected how I treat the GLCTs on my team. Just thought I'd throw this out and see what some of your thoughts were.