Rob's Corporate Mathematics
Many years ago, I was in the public service and we all had different classifications based on a numeric grade. For example, most people started out in the public service as a Class 1 and, if they were really well behaved, could rise to a Class 11.
Whenever I needed someone to help me I would do a quick math exercise before I went to speak to the person. For example, when I was a Class 4 and the person I needed to help me was a Class 8, I simply subtracted our Classes.
If the result was a positive number, it meant that I was in trouble; the bigger the number, the bigger the trouble I was in and the less likely that the person would help me (or needed to).
Although many contemporary management consultants would be appalled at this simplistic model, it worked for me and, even more important, it is the fundamental rule of hierarchies.
As a project manager, you will often be going to people whose " numbers " are much larger than yours and you need to be able to call in all the help you can to deal with this situation.