Boon or Bane: SAP Survival Kit – Business As Usual and Cultural

Business as usual

Does this situation ring a bell? Due to proven findings, consultants predominantly never show up in the morning of the first day of the week (referring to the Gregorian calendar) – at the earliest around high noon.

Contrary to popular belief, this species of human beings suffers from an intense workload that officially ranges from Monday afternoon until Thursday (late) evening; this circumstance makes it almost impossible for them to be physically accessible with regard to any crucial questions or needs of the local departments.

Thus, efficiency concerning the handling of ‘touchy’ problems or other critical incidents cannot be achieved the way it ought to be because of the lack of precious hours of presence. As a matter of fact, the business team members are basically consumed with tasks that have to be carried out in accordance with rigid time schedule and continuous deadlines given the requirements of the operative units.

As a logical consequence, the likelihood of potential conflicts tends to arise sooner or later.

It goes without saying, that sometimes there’s the necessity of an arbitrary solution, i.e. the role of the process owner and/or the business coordinator will be asked for anyway: practically and ideally speaking, you have to quickly clarify what kind of chores need to be identified as top business cases thus prioritizing the daily performance.

In fact, there have been numerous situations when it became obvious, that resources, which would have been required, were simply not available therefore causing an immediate postponement of major project contents.

Anyway, the principle of ‘taking a rain check’ played a revolving part in our business life, either way regarding the essence of daily tasks or project issues. To make a long story short, reaching and even keeping necessary compromises upon the decision of our heavyweight bosses turned out to be a great responsibility.

In retrospect, you should be fully aware of the fact, that the principle of ‘business as usual’ is not easy to implement in the project routine given the daily probability of unexpected modifications of plans, strategies, policies, and behavior.

The Intra- and intercultural component

Referring to some cultural aspects it is considered very essential, in particular because you are almost permanently confronted with that topic throughout the entire process of such a big project.

So, where to start with? How do you define culture-based issues?

One issue, that definitely has to be mentioned, deals with the philosophy of catering. Since the internal rules for providing attractive comestibles in meetings has dramatically changed, you’d better be careful in setting up meetings. To avoid the likelihood of temporary faint or unintended throat dryness, I would suggest organizing three hours lasting reunions at the minimum.

That way productivity and motivation is certainly saved for a while – at least.

I am sure, that most of you have already heard about the casual dress day alias casual Friday. Basically, this day of the week is supposed to be the ‘dot on the I’ after an exhausting week of constantly proving effort and endurance. It’s considered a real highlight especially because on Friday consultants principally won’t skulk around. You don’t have to be afraid being accused as follows: “Casual dress day is hurting our productivity, we need to cancel it. We believe that employees work harder when they are wearing uncomfortable clothes. However you still need to be able to lift your arms.”

In case, you can think of some other creative and unique possibilities to organize that day please keep me posted. Maybe, we could eventually achieve such extraordinary hypes of motivation as well.

Hey, what about the following hilarious idea, which just came into my mind: why not putting on a turtleneck sweater which the ladies might adore?

If you are really trapped in that situation, the only thing which may help is to comply with the principle: “Mother is the necessity of invention.” – Good Luck!

Above all, I should briefly refer to the so-called ‘Boss vacation day’, an issue that is closely connected with the idea of casual Friday. The ‘B.V.’ day is generally supposed to be a real reason for celebration; once the time has come for it, try to seriously hang on in and do your best!

How do you manage to borrow an additional chair for a forthcoming meeting – no kidding this is a situation which is meant to be fairly harmless but very representative at the same time according to several solid experiences of the author during the last year.

This happened very often due to limited seating opportunities in meeting rooms these days. Would you basically agree upon this behavior shown above or do you think that this tough question could have been handled with even more care and attention?

Now let’s move on to find out how to (re)act when you plan on obtaining praise and honor, that you have deserved without any doubt sooner or later. Internationally speaking, we define this official situation ‘face time’; this is mainly true for the attempt to humbly ask for a raise.

Next on my list of cultural issues is an example that reveals the difficulty of proper communication, an issue that has been repeatedly perceived during this project because it’s probably inevitable among human beings: “Dilbert my man, you are staying real and keeping to the core. Is that good? I don’t know what it means.”

Believe it or not, stress happened to be the key factor nearly all the time. But obviously, there are some distinct differences concerning the definition of stress.

Moreover, are you truly familiar with the polite way of transferring information? If not, please hold on a second and scrutinize the following quotes of Dilbert: “I heard that you won’t give marketing the information they need. I respectively decline the invitation to join your hallucination. Your system works. Next time try shortening it to ‘Bah’.”

Now we are just a skip, hop, and a jump away from the real meeting facts. Here we go displaying some more juicy issues that are typical for meetings nowadays. Since the implementation of a real meeting culture is prevailing in our business life, I would like to draw your attention to some diverse case studies representing the essence of life.

First of all, it is rather important to know, who is going to be the chairman of the meeting and how long it’s supposed to last.

In this case, just remember the rules of catering (it’s recommendable to go for more than 3 hrs) and their overall significance as I have talked about shortly before this item. On the good side is the fact, that despite the rude setting above you are definitely entertained to a nice and comfortable meal or something similar. As you can then see, the exception proves the rule!

Never mind, somebody should try to figure out the contents or the agenda of the meeting. However, it seems to be strategically opportune to give some reasonable hints beforehand in order to win the audience in the long run:

“Thank you all for coming. There’s no specific agenda for this meeting. As usual we’ll just make unrelated emotional statements about things which bother us. Wait, I’ll kick it off… there’s never time to get any work done.”

The basic question that automatically comes into being: do we always know why we are arranging meetings these days?

What’s even more crucial for the ultimate success of such a gathering with a bunch of project-oriented national and international people is explicitly explained by the famous “Buzzword Bingo” game. Nowadays we also call it Bullshit Bingo which definitely allows for surviving any meeting from hell.

Summarizing all shown aspects so far, I shall conclude, that the best idea would be complying with a all-day staff meeting at home; this event could be as follows: “Let’s form sub teams to be more efficient: Ted will do accidental spills. Alice you critique the decor and I’ll be a floater.”

Honestly speaking, I’d surely favored a BYOB-roof-party at our boss’s cubicle. If you do still not like this way of obtaining objective results and personal success, I can only offer you this opportunity that should be familiar to you. It’s called ‘PowerPoint Poisoning’ and very popular in big companies.

Maybe this might be the perfect example of staying grounded again.

Now it’s time to get down to business ASAP – by the way, have you got a clue, how a typical working day should look like? What about the following example as Dilbert recalls: “I was so motivated by your pep talk yesterday that I came to work ten minutes early.” – Nevertheless that won’t do it anyway if the group is used to start off at nine.

Disclaimer – All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. This piece of writing has mature content. Reader’s discretion is requested. Since I used extracts or portions from other people’s works for referential purposes I would like to give credit to the author, respectively Scott Adams.

Source by Hermann Grassl

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