When you’re sitting in a meeting with the great, good, and mighty, and one of them asks “Who approved that,” the correct answer is never “I did.” It results in a collection of blank stares, curled lips, angsty glances, and general twitchiness among the host assembled.
Yes, Virginia, I had the audacity to make a decision or two all on my own. I do it more often than they want to know, because it’s the only possible way to keep everything anywhere even close to on schedule. If we want to fall into the mode where the shading and font of every slide needs executive approval, you might as well fire my ass right now. Some decisions need made on the spot and unless someone directs me not to, I’m going to make them. I’m going to do it not so much based on any written authority, but based on the fact that I’ve got half a damned brain in my head and I’m reasonably good at what I do. If you feel that I need that kind of hand holding at every decision point, I’m serious, you really should replace me with someone more competent.
Look, I’m not vetoing bills and sending them back to the Hill. I’m not negotiating treaties with hostile powers. I’m not offering to cut entire weapons systems out of our portfolio. I’m deciding what slide template looks best when projected on a 50-foot screen and how many reserved seats we’re going to need. It’s the operative definition of nug work. It’s the sort of thing that should be well below the notice of those wielding profound executive authority.
I didn’t want to be the point man on this team, but someone gave me a task and told me to get it done. I’ll do exactly that, but it would be one hell of a lot easier if we could stop tripping all over ourselves. Believe me when I say if I hit a snag, or when the decisions needed are truly above my pay grade, I’ll be the very first to go screaming for help.