chapter  Four
16 Pages

Learning

Humility in adapting to negative feedback in a necessarily imperfect strategy
ByWitold J. Henisz

Large projects used to be managed according to the adage "decide, announce, defend" (DAD). Under DAD, engineers, financiers, accountants and lawyers would develop plan based on their understanding of project requirements and tradeoffs. Interim data can be gathered from informal consultations, including established grievance procedures, meetings and analysis of social and traditional media. A final source of data is incident reports on instances of stakeholder conflict. The most damaging and destructive dynamic is when managers look for internal scapegoats for the inevitable mistakes and setbacks that afflict every project. Ideally, managers should engage stakeholders both internal and external to adapt and learn from the feedback that they receive. Managers in finance or marketing may lack a larger vision of a company's diplomatic goals and the compromises needed to achieve them. The corporate diplomacy team also must be structured in such a way that learning flows to other key people and departments. Typical staffing patterns can undermine collaboration and learning too.