Have you ever been in a situation where you are in a hurry to get somewhere and, all of a sudden, there’s a car stopped in the middle of the road, which you cannot pass?
And you aren’t the only one blocked either. Everybody is waiting for him to clear the road. Some honk nervously, others are resigned. At one point you get out of the car and ask him nicely to move out of the way, but… he couldn’t care less. More than that, you’re 100% certain it’s pointless to argue or get angry because he doesn’t even see the problem. There’s no wrongdoing on his part and you are the difficult one.
That being said, I don’t actually want to talk about sensible driving. Not that it wouldn’t be interesting, but I’d rather stay in my lane: you know… projects. Where we are confronted occasionally with the exact same situation: someone who is in the middle of… the action blocks things for everyone else.
Going past the lack of common sense or being sensible, I think (in both situations) it’s actually a case of having different principles and values. And our job as PMs is to get to the finish line, aka deliver results regardless of the problems we might encounter along the way. Extreme ownership, remember?
We have to own and manage any situation, no matter how nerve racking it might be, and especially the most challenging ones. And, of course, those who generate them:
The ones who want to and can be helped, who are willing to learn and do it faster or slower, but at least are open to try!
And, going back to the traffic analogy, the “mates” with the car left in the middle of the road.
Depending on the category they fall in, you can use different approaches to handle them, but the underlying principle is the same: the rational decision. You need to weigh the results of a possible action in terms of: does it bring me closer or further away from my goal.
Maybe you’re not comfortable with doing it, maybe you’d rather step away and wait it out, but, as they say, you need to eat the frog! If it helps you weather the storm, you have to get it done!