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Wally says, "It takes an average of five people to approve any action in this company, and at any given time, three are on vacation." Wally says, "Should I violate our company culture of consensus building, or just sit around and do nothing for lack of buy-in?" The boss says, "Did you mention flailing around in futility?" Wally says, "I was hoping you forgot that option."
Dilbert says, "Did the executive steering committee approve my project?" The boss says, "We agreed on a predecisional draft framework for making the decision." Dilbert says, "Does that mean anything?" The Boss says, "It depends what you mean by 'Anything.'"
The Boss says, "I reject your proposal." Dilbert says, "Is there any particular reason this time?" The Boss says, "At my level of management I don't have the authority to approve anything important." The Boss says, "But I do have the authority to reject things." The Boss says, "If I don't reject proposals, there's nothing for me to do." The Boss says, "If I do nothing I'll get fired. I might never get another job. I could starve to death." The Boss says, "So I have to reject everything you propose or else I might die." Dilbert says, "What am I supposed to do now?" The Boss says, "Can you rephrase that question in the form of a proposal?"
Dilbert says, "Can you approve this change?" Woman says, "I'll have to run it by my corporate office." Woman says, "And we're in merger talks, so they'll need to clear it with our future owners." Woman says, "No one will know who should make the decision or what the right decision is." Dilbert says, "When do you think you'll have an answer?" Woman says, "Sometime between next week and whenever the earth is devoured by a gravitational singularity." Woman says, "Meanwhile I will avoid your calls and e-mails by becoming a vapor." Dilbert says, "You forgot the approval form."
The Boss says, "Today, we'll discuss ways to improve our workflow process." The Boss says ,"As you know, a good process is a substitute for good employees." The Boss says, "The ultimate goal is to simplify our processes so much?" The Boss says, "That we can train chickens to do your jobs in return for pellets." The Boss says, "We'll begin by discussing our process for funding new projects." The Boss says, "Could any part of our process be replaced by, for example, ringing a bell with your beak?" Alice says, "Yes, but only the part that you do." The Boss says, "There's a wrinkle in the plan." Chicken thinks, "Pellet"
Dilbert thinks, "Groan" Accounting Dilbert says, "I'd like to see someone about my rejected expense report." Creature says, "The problem is that you didn't submit a receipt for your bridge toll." Dilbert says, "Or maybe the problem is that you have a joyless, dead-end job." Dilbert says, "ANd your boss doesn't allow you to use your own judgement because working here is proof that you don't make good decisions." Creature says, "Actually, I was going to approve it." Dilbert says, "You don't have to get an attitude about it."
The Boss says, "I?m glad your project was transferred to my department, Ronald." The Boss says, "Your project is flashy! It's sexy!" The Boss says, "But it's not worth funding because the revenue projections are puny." The Boss says, "Until something changes, you'll be in the limbo cube." The Boss says, "I'll trot you out whenever a customer or an executive visits." The Boss says, "You can show your sexy-flashy powerpoint slides while dreaming of being relevant." The Boss says, "If you work hard, someday you'll be totally forgotten." The Boss says, "Did you know that honesty makes people sad?"
The Boss says, "I don't understand either of your technical proposals, and I need to pick one." The Boss says, "Normally I'd use favoritism, but I don't like either one of you." The Boss says, "So I'll give you an intelligence test, and I'll approve the proposal of whoever is the smartest." The Boss says, "If you shoot an arrow at a monkey from an airplane..." The Boss says, "And the monkey throws a coconut at the incoming arrow to stop it, but he misses..." The Boss says, "How can you tell what time it is?" Dilbert says, "There's not enough data." Coworker says, "You look at your watch?" The Boss says, "The correct answer is 'Ask the monkey and hope he doesn't hold a grudge."
"I'm thinking about buying a more fuel efficient car." "Why?" "It's my patriotic duty to reduce this country's dependency on foreign sources of oil." "Why?" "Because then the countries that hate us will have less money to fund terrorists." "Actually, developing countries would buy the oil you saved, thus adequately funding those same terrorists." "At least I wouldn't be funding them myself." "Oil is a fungible commodity. The capitalist system virtually guarantees that you'll end up buying the lowest cost oil from sources unknown to you." "Well, maybe, but I want my car to make a statement." "And the statement would be 'Hey, everyone, I don't understand what fungible means!'"
I'll ask the vendor for ballpark prices to see if the idea is feasible. "You can't talk with vendors until our change control board approves the project." "But that would require a cost-benefit analysis." "And I can't do that without ballpark prices from the vendor." "Just take your best guess." "So...I should make up a number so I can get approval to make a phone call and ask what the number should have been?" "Right. But first you need to get my approval to do the cost-benefit analysis." "Will you approve it?" "I'd have to see the numbers."