Going “Incognito” in Google Chrome to sample the artistic content of your favorite porn site is a smart move. Going “Incognito” at the office is not!
Take your favorite action or suspense movie.
It goes something like this: The movie is close to its climax. Things aren’t going well for the good guys and shit’s ’bout to go crazy. There is no way out. Failure looms ahead. Slowly, the camera pans to the star of the film, our hero, who, amid growing uncertainty, suddenly realizes something. He looks around, smiles confidently and says “I’ve got a plan.” The screen fades. Next thing you know, the plan is being executed flawlessly. The good guys win. You smile as the plan is revealed. You clap at its ingenuity. And…..roll credits.
This well established formula never gets old on the silver screen. We love it. Not knowing what’s about to happen keeps us from taking that next breath.
Now, here’s corporate reality.
There’s no such thing as a flawless plan. Not only that, the idea of being in suspense or having to deal with the unknown, really pisses people off.
People, especially superiors, do not like being kept in the dark. Whenever you’re working on a project or task that involves others, you’re expected to keep everyone informed at each step. Every success, every failure, every alternative needs to be discussed with the stakeholders.
When your boss assigns you a project or wants you to resolve a fire-drill, she doesn’t want you to disappear into a deep, dark hole and resurface after a few days with amazing solutions. Instead, she wants you to come up with a plan and a timeline for completion. Then she wants you to walk her through the details and provide updates as often as possible.
This is good for you and it’s good for her. Not only will she appreciate that you’re keeping her informed and thereby involved, you’ll benefit from having her support and backing. She’ll be able to leverage her position and help you move things up the chain whenever you encounter a roadblock and she’ll be ready to defend your ass when you fail. And trust me, you’re going to fail … a lot.
In the corporate world, no one likes being surprised. Even good surprises are rarely welcomed by those in power.