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Is a 'Jerry Maguire' move acceptable?
March 2005, Article 8
Is a 'Jerry Maguire' move acceptable? Our corporate office recently held their annual meeting in which they discussed the pros and cons of the previous year while trying to find ways to make the new year more productive. An email was sent to all employees by our District Manager outlining the key points discussed in the meeting, as a bit of an "FYI."
Reading the email inspired me to write down some key points on how to
boost office morale and increase the success rate of our company. What
I have done is draft a 4-page report based upon those thoughts, a 'mission
statement\ if you will, that I'd like to present for consideration. Yet
I'm unsure of what would be considered the 'correct' way to proceed.
What I would like to do is send this proposal straight to our District
Manager. I do not want to go through our Office Manager. It's not that
I have a problem with my office manager; in fact we get along very well.
But I wrote this as a presentation towards a more corporate level, based
upon the points they discussed during their meeting. Is it considered
poor office etiquette to send something like this to your 'boss's boss,'
even when what you want to send is not problematic in any way?
Dear Jerry Maguire Mover and Shaker,
First off, "You had me at 'hello."... Seriously, your opening analogy to a great movie is an intriguing question to see if we can find a way to "Show You the Money!" Let's dissect your question since it really depends upon many factors, some of which you've addressed.
You raise the valid point that you are not putting down anyone, deflating anyone's balloon, or disparaging company practices or policies, simply expressing a positive, company direction. Still, just because the content of your proposed memo is not provocative or controversial you are still wise in looking before you leap since "being right sometimes gets the booby prize." So the bigger question is what is the political temperature and culture of your organization?
If your publishing the memo would be seen as showboating, crass, going around proper channels, and self-hyping in ways that imply you are judging others or conveying a "holier than thou" attitude of superior, then we'd suggest being lower key and letting the inspiration you feel guide you personally without needing to have it shared firm-wide or become some sort of enterprise-wide embraced direction. So what are your true goals, to have the philosophy you have adopted company wide, to receive the spotlight as a values-laden person, to show you value what the District Manager and company meeting espoused, or what? Any of these might be noble and fine, but just think carefully about:
But all of this comes back to you assessing yourself, your wording, your
knowledge of the company channels, culture, and personalities involved.
So we're trying to assist you by prompting you to think through the right
questions, more than our sending you some absolutist right "answer."
In this manner, perhaps, as Jerry Maguire says to Rod (Cuba Gooding, Jr.)
in the movie, we hope you will "Help me to help you!"
Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D., Co-authors
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