In my last post about communicating risk I introduced the term “in-betweener”. I’ll wait for the grammar nazi’s to correct how I’ve put that word together but the idea is that an in-betweener is someone who exists in an organisation between those or really benefit from some kind of activity and those who execute that activity.
Those who execute an activity are often rewarded on a time and materials basis because they provide professional services. Those who benefit from it usually derive benefit indirectly from the activity by gaining some kind of business advantage.
The question is – how do you tell if you are an in-betweener? Well – the first thing to note is that it isn’t only the top level executives in the organisation who benefit from successful activities – middle managers _can_ be rewarded by business activity – this is where those bonuses come in.
So are you an in-betweener? The easiest way to tell is look at your actual behaviours. Do you spend a lot of time producing documents that prove that “its not your fault” by deferring all the decision making to someone else. If so – you are an in-betweener. Some people are happy with this role and do it well, but its not for me.
If you want to get out of that in-betweener status then you need to change the risk reward ratio. Do this by talking to the invested decision makers who often hold the purse strings about being rewarded for successful project implementations and removing any incentives that you get automatically just for breathing in and out.
Even if you can’t negotiate a better deal, being an in-betweener to me seems like a pretty sad existence. Why not just take a few risks – crash and burn if they are realised but enjoy a boost in credibility if they come through – after all not all rewards need to be monetary.