The VP of Mystery, or Mr. They

Whose job is it, anyway?

In checking the organizational chart there is a position in all companies that falls somewhere under the CEO and COO. It is VP of Mystery, a position that has unbelievable power, authority and perceived experience. It is a position never questioned about direction, practices or substance.

So what does this position do? Obviously, the title is a joke, but the situation caused by its oft cited authority is not. When managers and other employees are asked questions, but either fail to respond, vacillate or defer to others, then errors may occur. Asked about culpability, we get into the responses such as: “They said.” “Who told you to do that? “They did.”

Take the mobile on-site repair technician who was working from a detailed trailer PM sheet with explicit directions, but who was not performing as required. When asked by the supervisor, “Why are you not doing those items as printed on the sheet?”, he said he was told he didn’t have to do that. Asked “Who told you that?”, he was unsure, but the final answer was “They said.”

I asked who is Mr. They? Where can I find him? What does he drive? Where is his office?  Got his mobile number? He eventual reply is that he thinks the technician who used to do his job and got fired told him "They" told him he did not have to do that part of the PM.

My advice -- take a look at your company’s organization chart. Is there is a position of “VP of Mystery?” Okay, so the title isn’t there, but you can bet that mystery persons (“they”) are being blamed for making kinds of decisions all around you 24 hours a day. I’d also bet that most of those decisions aren’t based on fleet policy and procedures.

It is always important to review procedures for all jobs and tasks with all employees on a regular basis. Make sure you let them know that there are often consequences for taking shortcuts and/or not following the company’s stated policies and procedures.

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