What is escalation ?
Webster defines escalation as “to increase in
extent, volume, number, amount, intensity, or
What is escalation
escalation means initiating an additional
sequence of actions over and above the
normal process flow that is required to release
a “blockage” or solve an “issue” to achieve a
particular objective; in most cases, involving
management levels above you to facilitate the
Incorrect expectations about roles and responsibilities
Fear of Conflict
Lack of confidence because of not having a detailed understanding of the issue
Not sure if it’s the right time to escalate
Not understanding the criticality of the issue
Is it right time to escalate?
Do you have all the appropriate know-how to make the
does another subject matter expert or stakeholder(s) need
to be consulted (and that input could change your decision)?
Can you approach these experts or
stakeholders directly (without going
through the escalation route) or
is escalation the only way to obtain their
Have you exhausted all other options and any further delay
could have a detrimental effect on the project
More often than not, this may not be the HR boss
you must find the right channel to escalate to
make sure the person you are escalating to
gives the proper attention the issue deserves
Escalate to the appropriate level in the
hierarchy in which there is someone
empowered to make the decision or intervene
• State the problem very clearly.
• Provide another concise summary of the
problem and also indicate where detailed
information can be found.
• Do not assume that the people you are
escalating to have the required background
• State explicitly what you need.
• Don’t leave any ambiguity; clearly and
explicitly, indicate what you expect from
the person to whom you are escalating to
get what you want,
• and more importantly, when you need it
and the impact/consequences if the
expected action is not taken in time.
Right Follow up
Follow up, even after sending that e-mail
and/or making the telephone call
• Use appropriate, respectful content and
escalate in a mature and respectful manner.
• Harsh e-mails and/or telephone calls and
inappropriate behavior complicate more
things than they solve.
• Always remember that resolution of the
“issue” is of utmost importance and this is
what must be highlighted in such
“Escalation in a project is like
driving a car with manual
You can drive everywhere in second
gear, but it is bad for the
engine, makes a lot of noise, and
it’s just plain inefficient.
Changing gear up or down at the
appropriate time delivers a
smoother ride for everyone.”
Based on the http://www.pmi.org/en/Escalation-How-to-Do-it-Right.aspx (c) Hrishikesh Karekar