David Dejewski

Here is potentially some new information to consider: In the case I described above, claiming victory and sharing credit were pretty easy to do for things that fell within what others believed were in our lane. We did that often.

It got sticky in cases where other Directors were claiming the same victory, and/or the subject matter of the victory was perceived to be in another Directorate’s lane. To claim our role would diminish those other Directorates sovereign claim over those functional areas, & set up political tension with people (other Directors) I preferred to keep as allies. To allow some other Directorate to claim the victory made them look good, and I believed earned our Directorate favor – which we would cash in later.

The Acquisition Directorate, for example, did not want to admit that their 45+ day process for evaluating vendors competing for multi-award task orders (after all the paperwork was submitted) was unreasonably slow, or that my teams found a way to use automation do the same analysis in under five minutes. They accepted the standardizing and programming we had done for them – and they loved it! but when it came time for the award, they claimed the prize.

To be sure, there are politics involved in claiming victories around the Board of Director’s table in a way that doesn’t offend anyone. There are good reasons to sacrifice a claim to victory in order to strengthen your Directorate position in other ways. My staff never felt unrewarded or unappreciated. I made sure of that. They told me often that they felt appreciated. But at the level above them, Directorates jockeyed for attention. I chose not to play.

By my way of thinking, actions speak louder than words. We didn’t need to say we were great or fight for scraps of attention. We just needed to be professional, do our jobs well, and improve on our own track record. Morale was high and staffs in my Directorate knew they rocked! Other Directorates, however, seemed insecure by comparison.

Considering the outcome, I was missing something.