A woman at a large company needs to get back to me and I struggle to understand why. She’s not an entry-level employee, yet she cannot answer a simple question I have. Her company wants to order a bunch of copies of The New Small for internal consumption and we agree on logistics. Not a crazy number, just 50 or so. Added to the mix, she has to work with another company to place the order. She can’t just do it herself.
This process has been dragging on for over two months and I sometimes wonder if the whole process justifies the cauldron of emails and calls. Fifty copies and 5,000 are hardly the same thing.
Enter The Others
As a small business owner, I often have to remind myself that the things that I can do in five minutes require a great deal of coordination for people at larger companies. And I’m hardly Superman here. I’ve spoken to other small business owners who feel the same way. We often forget (myself included) that employees at large companies are often hamstrung, unable to take care of something really easy.
Even essential and organizationally savvy folks often cannot navigate the maze of politics at really big and often bureaucratic companies. They might know how to get something done, but can they actually do it? They might not have permission to update a website, approve a modest invoice, or contact the right person.
Great points Phil – I’ve come across this a number of times. It can be frustrating, but it’s a matter of trying to understand the processes of larger companies (and often to adjust your timelines accordingly). A key point is ensuring you’re working with someone who has responsibility AND authority.