1.2.6 Escalation Points

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1.2.6 Escalation Points

In any undertaking, there will always be problems and issues that would arise. When these occur in the process of developing your operational plan, the necessity for escalation may emerge. By definition, escalation is the process of bringing up an issue to a higher authority. It is a proactive risk communication technique that seeks quick resolution by reaching out to the necessary persons atop the hierarchy.

For the most part, escalation is perceived negatively, and this is mostly because of the potential backlash it can have on the person who escalates an issue. However, it may be necessary, especially when an issue is taking too long to be resolved and the delay this causes ends up affecting other activities in the project. Some scenarios when it is most necessary to escalate an issue include:

  • Unclear decision-making

At times, the decision-making process may not be clear. This would especially be apparent when there is an overlap in the decisions that need to be made. During these moments, it is best to escalate your concern to your supervisors or higher-ups.

  • Unbreakable silos

The silo mentality refers to the unwillingness to cooperate with other teams outside one’s own. This can be a barrier to achieving results when you need to collaborate with people outside your team, but they refuse to. When this happens, it is best to reach out to these people’s direct supervisor or line management.

  • Uncontrollable changes

There would be times when a stakeholder would demand changes that are too difficult or too many to handle. When this happens, you may be not only overwhelmed but also unable to keep up, realistically speaking. As such, it is best to escalate this concern to your bosses so they themselves can speak to your stakeholders.

  • Unrealistic expectations

Similar to the situation above, sometimes your stakeholders may be expecting more than you can ever hope to deliver. If you are unable to manage their expectations yourself, it may be time to escalate this problem to your bosses so they can do so themselves.

  • Unmanageable politics

Politics is inevitable in every project and organisation. When you are fortunate, this won’t impact you negatively and would work to your advantage. However, at times, the power play may directly impede the progress of your project. Escalating this kind of issue may be tricky because you might end up surrounded by people who are on the same side. In such situations, you must tread carefully. Reach out to your supervisor and ensure that in your escalation, you present and stick to the facts.