Getting things done when you’re not in charge pt.2

Getting things done when you’re not in charge is also title of a book. I read it too many years ago to give you a summary but I found it helpful. The take away is that it’s also useful for business owners because as you’ll find out sooner or later, you’re never in charge. But that’s not what I want to talk about.

The topic of getting things done when you’re not in charge has been a frequent topic around here lately but that is not my story to tell. Because it is a frequent frustration across the board, I thought I’d swoop in with my cape to tell you how I’ve done it successfully several times. And then I thought… maybe not. Our definitions of success may differ. I got what I really wanted, namely effective change but there was a price. A price you might not be willing to pay (I was).  I will say that regardless of the price, all parties were left for the better.

I’m looking for someone to interview on this subject, maybe that’s you. I’m interested in hearing from people who’ve successfully implemented substantive change without getting themselves fired. Alternatively, the same although you did get fired or left employ under less than ideal circumstances. In short, preferably someone who is less abrasive and stubborn than I am who has successfully implemented direly needed changes in their workplace.

If you’re interested in imparting your wisdom (anonymously if desired), please contact me. My contact information is on my About page. Otherwise I may be reduced to telling you sordid tales. Thanks.

Get New Posts by Email


  1. Kathy Jo says:

    I would surely like to hear how you get things done regardless of whether you’re in charge or not. My way of attempting to do everything myself because that’s the only way to get things done doesn’t work very well.

  2. Naomi R. says:

    I don’t have an experience, but it’s awful when trying to implement needed change risks termination. Systemic issues are implied…

    I’d be interested to read your story.

  3. Just for everyone’s information: you can download the first chapter of the book for free from that Amazon link. I had it sent to my Kindle so I could check it out, but you can also download it to a computer.

  4. Reader says:

    I have nothing relevant to say on this topic, but I’m quite familiar with the general concept. I’ve paid with constant anxiety, frustration, and yes, on occasion I’ve been blamed for things for which I had no responsibility.

    I also wonder if it isn’t women who find themselves in this situation the most. All the responsibility, but none of the authority.

  5. dosfashionistas says:

    I am not sure what you mean by “not in charge. One of the great mysteries of my working life was trying to make things happen when I was held responsible but without authority. It is bound to be a common situation, but I never got good at it and my lack of effectiveness hindered my career. I never progressed beyond a point where I was responsible for my own work and only my own work.

    With that in mind, this should be an extremely important and interesting topic for discussion. I am willing to tell stories of my failures, if it will help. I would think stories of successes would be more edifying.

  6. I have worked for, with and over a lot of different kinds of people. For none was the paycheck the sole motivating factor, and not always the primary one. Moving an assorted group towards a common goal (when in charge as the leader, or covertly when you’re not) can mean finding different motivations for each subset. Often, it’s independence and control.

    When I’ve had employees, most have preferred to be assigned projects, given the time frame, and allowed to schedule themselves. They’d call each other and swap things around when emergencies arose. I gave up (micro)management, but also didn’t get stuck constantly taking up the slack.

    The front office may have no interest in wasting money coddling workers with an ergonomically set space, good lighting, and enough machines to make the flow of work easier, but they might be willing to invest in the equipment, reworking of space, and consultation time thinking through lean manufacturing if the return is less employee turnover and greater productivity, much less dissatisfied sabotage.

    Bring on the sordid stories!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.