• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint


1:Somebody who works for you has a major body odor problem. Several of your other people have complained about it. What do you do?
  1. Send out some vaguely phrased memos about things like “dress code,” “grooming,” and so on, and see if they take the hint.

  2. Take them aside, tell them what the problem is, and ask them to do something about it.

  3. Hand the issue over to human resources.

  4. Do (a) and if that doesn't work, launch—in conjunction with human resources—a major dress code and grooming initiative that you hope will end up solving both this and any similar or related problems.

A1: (a) 2 points

Might solve the problem. It'll probably take at least an hour of your time, because the delicate phrasing required will take a good bit of writing and rewriting.

(b) 5 points

Only five minutes and the problem is almost certainly solved. Works for me.

(c) 1 point

Might solve the problem, but now you've got at least two people involved. How much time is going to get consumed putting all of this together?

(d) 0 points

No. Come on, now. You can't be serious.

2:You have the feeling that your customer service (or customer relationship management [CRM]) is not what it was, or not as good as that of your competitors. What do you do?
  1. Send people to CRM training courses.

  2. Begin a major CRM initiative within your company.

  3. Bring in consultants.

  4. Ask your people to treat each customer as though they were a friend; that is, somebody who is proud of you and somebody you would not want to let down.

A2: (a) 1 point

Can't hurt. Unless the training is truly execrable, some of it is bound to rub off.

(b) 3 points

Can't hurt either.

(c) 3 points

(Maybe) can't hurt either. It'll hurt your pocketbook, though.

(d) 5 points

If you could really get them to do this, in my view, you would have solved all of your CRM problems in a single stroke.

3:It has become trendy and so your people have received some project management training. As part of the package, the project management training company has provided a follow-up mentoring service that works like this: Each course attendee is assigned a mentor at the project management training company. When your people have a project management problem, they simply e-mail their mentor with the problem and a response comes back within a set time. The training company also provides a summary of the mentoring activity to you to show the value this service is adding. Which of the following is likely to happen?
  1. The mentoring service is overwhelmed with e-mail.

  2. The mentoring service gets a few e-mails at the beginning and then these tail off.

  3. The mentoring service gets no e-mail.

  4. The mentoring service turns out to be useless because the advice is academic rather than practical and real world.

A3: (a) 0 points

I don't think so.

(b) 1 point

Perhaps more likely.

(c) 5 points

This gets my vote. People respond to what gets measured. If they know that you know what level of mentoring they're getting, then you know what level of mentoring they need, and therefore—as they see it—you know how inadequate they are. They won't contact the mentor at all, thereby proving what great project managers they are! Now, you might argue that I am breaching my own idea here, that many things are simple. You might argue that I am being positively Machiavellian. I would not say so. The notion that people respond to what gets measured is a simple concept, readily observable in the real world. Witness the number of people who work late so that they won't go home before the boss.

(d) 4 points

Very likely.



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint