The Company is last – Sacrificed for personal gain – Part 1of 2

Managers are hired to grow the organization, protect Company interests, steward its resources and provide value to share holders / stake holders. They achieve this by making decisions that benefit themselves personally, individuals they like, their team or the overall organization. When these decisions are made for the right reasons, everyone wins.

Some people treat Company interests as a latter option. They disregard their primary responsibility and make decisions that may harm the corporation in the long run. This mindset is present in people of power, whether serving as a manager, coach, or politician. My focus for this article will be on those serving as a manager or leader.

These individuals in question view resources, influence and assets as their private property. They selfishly make decisions to stroke their personal egos, enrich their bank accounts and advance their personal careers and the careers of their minions.

Let us discuss the decision making practices of many managers when selecting candidates for hire or promotion as an example of this behavior. There are four perspectives and the company may be last. The four perspectives are:

• Personal
• Protégé
• Team
• Organization

Personal

The personal perspective is highly visible in selecting talent. Manager’s with this dominant mode will hire and promote in their image. The candidate reminds them of themselves when they were that age. Also, they have attributes that remind them of someone they admire. Managers select people based on comfort, familiarity and personal identification. They can relate to the attributes shared in common. They feel the person has the potential to do well and they may personally receive accolades for hiring / promoting such a fine talent.

These opportunities are often blatant examples of nepotism because these individuals are in the same club, group, fraternity, sorority or ethnic or racial group. The person is elevated in stature due to an affiliation of some sorts. The candidate presumably has the qualifications, but affiliation or identification on some level compels them to advocate their candidacy.

The idea of reciprocity comes to mind. Someday the person may repay the favor and help them in some manner. The manager may offer the job to a friend of a friend or the referral of a very important person. The concept is to place the job in the hands of someone who owes them and may pay dividends in the future. There is hope that someone will be grateful for this act of generosity and show their gratitude at the appropriate moment with the appropriate stipend.

The personal focus of this perspective is also evident in their daily practices. A person gains accolades for developing a new program. Mind you, a recently introduced program was not given an adequate chance to work. They therefore, convinced the company to make a make a large financial investment in their new program. They do not want credit for implementing someone’s program, so they develop their own. If this happens frequently, it does not allow the company to establish their brand identity due to the revolving door of new managers with new programs to fit their personal agendas.

The perceived personal benefit is the driving force behind their actions. The manager in this mindset is hiring for personal gain, image and reputation. They are executing their job with a short term personal focus on their career. They will duplicate expenditures; make poor decisions and institute practices that may actually cost the company more money, time and resources.

Protégé

People immersed in the protégé mindset are influenced by what is best for the candidate, rather than the company. These candidates may be worthy people, with a compelling story. The manager feels an obligation to help them complete their story, by making the path easier or more open for them. The manager wants to accelerate the person’s learning curve, but the effect may be catastrophic for the corporate culture.

People are placed on a fast track program. They are placed on a short term basis in a series of departments to give them exposure to the company quickly. This allows the person to check off a box that they have experience in various disciplines. The concept makes sense, but they are never in one department long enough to fully understand how it works. Additionally, they are not there long enough to have an impact on the business and to make a significant contribution. They are viewed as lame ducks or worse, someone passing through on their way to the top with an opportunity reserved for a select few.

The protégé mindset espouses that potential will eventually lead to qualifications, but there is collateral damage when following this approach.

In this category, someone may get a job because of who they know, influence plays a role in their hiring or promotion. Patronage and favoritism are focused on the person who may become the protégé.

When there are problems with the protégé, the hiring managers becomes protective, since they are responsible for the hire. They take it personally and defend the new person. They are prone to ignore criticism, justify the poor performance by blaming others and circumstances. They will castigate the messengers who bring bad news about poor performance, regarding their hiring / promotional choice.

The protégé mindset is replete with hiring friends and family members. The CEO of a Charter School was reprimanded when they found many of his family members on the company payroll in key positions. City governments are notorious for this practice.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

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