Working Wounded Blog: Breaking Rules to Get Things Done

News Flash: "In the French Quarter, Addie Hall and Zackery Bowen found an unusual way to make sure that police officers regularly patrolled their house. Hall, 28, a bartender, flashed her breasts at the police vehicles that passed by, ensuring a regular flow of traffic." (From The New York Times.)

I'm a fan of New Orleans. And let's face it, if you had gone through the hell of Hurricane Katrina, would you be able to draw on years of experience at Mardi Gras to get the police attention you needed? Hall, like so many residents of the Big Easy, has the most creative problem-solving skills I've ever seen.

Hall also reminds us that there are the ways that things are supposed to get done and the ways that they actually get done. I'm not suggesting that flashing is a career-enhancing move for most of us. But there are times at work, and in life, where creativity and bold action are not only called for, they're a requirement.

This reminds me of a story that I heard as a graduate business student. Our professor told us that he wanted to talk to people who actually implemented programs in corporations. So he arranged a meeting with no consultants, authors or other hangers-on. He only allowed corporate doers in the room. He asked them to tell success stories and he marveled at how the techniques for getting things done in the real world had little resemblance to what was being taught in MBA programs.

For example, there was the change agent who tried to get his program implemented for years with no success. He'd long since given up. Then one day he was having lunch with his friend, the company speechwriter. The topic of his failed program came up. He told the sad story of defeat after defeat on the corporate battlefield. Cut to the chief executive officer two weeks later announcing his latest initiative, the change agent's program. One conversation with the speechwriter breathed more life into his program than years of banging his head against the corporate hierarchy.

For every rule of how things should get done in organizations there are often at least two exceptions. That's why it's so important to get to know the network of doers in your organization. They're in there, but chances are that they're operating beneath the radar. So you're going to have to go looking for them. Once you get their confidence, they'll have many stories that will both surprise you and teach you new ways to get from point A to point B within your organization.

In closing, I'd be remiss if I didn't remind you of the importance of doing what you can for the people who have been displaced by the hurricane. America is at its best when we are all working together. So find your own personal way to flash them some money, some support and some love. If you're like me, New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast have provided us many great memories through the years. Now it's our turn to return the favor.

Quote of the week:
"Anyone who says businessmen deal in facts, not fiction, has never read five-year projections." -- Malcolm Forbes

Weekly book excerpt:
From "What Color Is Your Parachute" by Richard Bolles (10 Speed, 2005)

"There are always vacancies. Organizations are born, organizations expand, workers become restless, quit, change jobs, move, become ill long-term, or become handicapped, retire or die. There are always jobs out there waiting to be filled. The fact that you can't find those jobs only means the vacancy hasn't been advertised, or you're not using the right method to find it. When the Internet or job-postings, or agencies, or ads, or resumes, don't work, there are other ways of turning up the job you want. So, if you're coming up 'empty,' you need to change the search method you've been using."

Working Wounded Mailbag:

"I was working my way through college as a secretary for a service company. One of my duties was to get the boss his coffee. He had paged my desk and I was in the ladies room, and when I returned to my desk I saw that the intercom light was on so I inquired as to who was there. It was my boss and he demanded to know where I was because he had to get his own coffee. I told him I was in the ladies room and he proceeded to yell at me that 'I don't pay you to sit on your a**. If you need to go to the bathroom, go before 8, after 5 or on your lunch hour' and then slammed down the phone. Needless to say, that was my last day on the job. "

Blog Ballot Results

Here are the results from a recent Working Wounded Blog/ online ballot:
How would you grade FEMA's efforts in New Orleans?

       A, 3.5 percent
       C, 9.8 percent
       F, 86.6 percent

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author, an internationally syndicated columnist, popular speaker and a recent addition to the community of bloggers. He welcomes your comments at

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.