Education

Ask the Leadership Coach: How do I handle being sabotaged by a colleague?

Office politics can make even a great job go sour. Leadership coach John M. McKee advises a company VP who feels his position is being sabotaged by a colleague.

 One of the nasty things about political maneuvering in the workplace is that you may not realize you're the victim of someone else's plot until it's too late. Here's one story that came to my attention:

John,

I can use your advice.  While moving up the ranks from being 1 of many engineers to vice president of the company's entire IT group, I've enjoyed a solid and satisfying career with the same employer for 12 years.  Until now, I've never thought much at all about the "politics" that take place elsewhere.  Until now.

About 8 months ago, a new VP was hired to oversee a new venture at my company.  He's an older guy; I'm 39 and he's probably in his mid-50s.  From the first day he arrived I've gone out of my way to let him know that I'd be happy to help him with anything that could help him succeed.  Now, it seems, I was naive.

Over the past couple of months he's made statements during our leadership team meetings that make me and my team look ineffective.  In a company project review last week, he seemed to make a point of commenting about every issue or problem my department was encountering with our deliverables.  After drawing attention to a few of them - in front of managers and department heads from several departments - he told our boss that he'd be happy to help me out by taking on the additional responsibility of overseeing all company-wide projects.  He said that he has a lot more experience with this type of complexity than anyone else (implication being me), that he's got extra time, and that it just made sense to lend his hand to ensure we don't miss deadlines.

I was set up and made to look like I can't do my job.  I realize now that he's had this plan all along and I didn't see his office politics until now.  I think my boss is seriously considering the idea of boosting our new VP's status and the idea infuriates me.   This has me very upset.  It's all I can think about even when I'm at home with my family.

Am I screwed?  If it comes down to it, I will not report to this unethical and self serving jerk.  Is it time to start looking for a new job?

Gerald in Miami

The Leadership Coach response

Well, it does sound like you've been out-maneuvered by the new guy.  But you may not have to start looking for a new job just yet, Gerald.  Before I give you my suggestions about your "next steps"; let's take a minute to review what happened in your situation.

New, older guy arrives. He's brought in at the same level as you and tasked with the success of a new venture. It's clear that this new venture is a high priority because of his VP level and direct reporting to the big boss.  You, the younger, "home-grown" talent with 12 years at the company, and a collegial guy, offered to help show him how to get things done.  Eight months later, the new guy is pointing out all your problems and making a power play to get more responsibility. Now the boss seems to be considering the idea.

Let's spend a minute looking at this new guy: He's in his 50s, coming into a new firm, with a high-profile role. For him, he may view this opportunity as his last, best chance to make a big mark in his career.  And at his age, he's seen and probably played a lot of politics over the years. Many execs don't get his kind of chance to make a big contribution with a new employer this late in their careers.  He could be very motivated to show his expertise, and may want to be regarded as a go-to guy who can do a lot more than the other veeps.  He's got a lot of skin in this game.

Whether or not anyone actually considers that he could potentially become your new boss, you need to make it very clear, for all concerned, that you know what needs to be done and will do what it takes to succeed.

You could also help your boss to recognize that the new guy has enough on his own plate already. We're talking about hard-nosed tactics and actions. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Measure twice -- cut once. If your team's doing everything right, there's less reason for the boss to make any change. That means that your key team members need to be operating at peak performance. But if you've got mistakes happening, take action. Immediately, have a serious conversation with anyone who's dropping the ball. Help these individuals see the importance of doing their job, at all times, in a first class way.  And make it clear that you cannot allow any more hiccups. 2.  Check the lay of the land. Without being too obvious, find out how others in the company view this guy. Discreetly check the perceptions of peers, support area heads in HR or Finance, and your boss. Is he someone who can be trusted or do others view him with suspicion? You want to verify your feelings. 3.  Consider the Japanese management style. As far back as the 1600s, managers and warriors understood that they had similarities in their day to day activity. Miyamoto Musashi, perhaps the most famous Samurai, wrote A Book of Five Rings about strategic thinking and tactics for warriors; but it's been studied by leaders of all types ever since. Anyone seeking strategy guidance can consider his advice for almost any situation. I'll caution you - it's tough stuff; but office politics can be too - with lives and careers irreparably damaged. This read may provide some ideas for you. 4. Deal with issues head-on. Get together with this guy over a cup of coffee or a drink. Do it someplace that is not his office to eliminate any potential "home turf advantage."  Gain an understanding of his motives and his goals. Act accordingly.

Hopefully it's not too late to deal with this issue and put it to rest.  This may also be a good time to polish up your resume and make sure you're in good shape just in case this goes the wrong way. Even if things improve, I'd recommend that you - and all senior types - go out on at least one job interview each year.  It will help you to find out what's out there and how things compare. This little action will keep you sharper and reduce any tendency toward complacency.

john

Leadership Coach

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About

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...

42 comments
aharper
aharper

Word to the wise... if he's playing the game I think he is, he will be waiting to cry foul as soon as you play heavy handed tactics, and you will likely need a resume update. Deal with it as an adult. While he can fool some of the people some of the time, he can't fool everyone all the time. Your boss probably isn't an idiot. He'll figure it out eventually. One thing you may wish to do is get ahold of the guy's resume. This isn't to dig up dirt, but rather understand him. This will let you deal with issues better and possibly find some chinks in his armour. My similar situation ended when I discovered that my opponent was ex-military in a fiercely competitive career field, then worked for a healthcare company (now defunct) which was known for it's dog eat dog work environment. Once I figured that out, I was able to see where he took something I said in good faith as setting him up. We talked about this over a meal and he became a good friend. Your mileage may vary, but good intel isn't a bad thing.

mzullo
mzullo

Excellant advice.

K2 YYC
K2 YYC

It's extremely difficult to give any specific advice in this situation -- we simply don't know enough. Gerald's characterization of the events are one perspective. I'm sure there's a couple other viewpoints that are equally as valid (as seen from the holders of those views). I've found that treating these situations like the Art of War, etc will turn it into war. - 12+ years = loyalty, promotion, inside knowledge - 55 y.o. = been around the block, has perhaps seen a few things. If Gerald has issues with delivery and execution in his department he needs to deal with them. If the new guy has his "brief" under control, then he's looking for more meaty stuff to sink his teeth into. Gerald may be a prince or a fool. New guy may be a star or a ruthless ingrate. Either way -- we simply don't know enough. The first step is to try to understand and be honest with yourself. We all get a bit willfully blind when it comes to looking at our own weaknesses. And we get suddenly extremely perceptive when it comes to pointing out other's faults. Step back, clean up your own messes, be a team player (meaning focus on success for everyone). If you've been at a place for 12+ years -- something is clearly working for you and the company. Don't rely that it will always work that way. The times, they are a changing -- but if you like the company and enjoy your job -- then this is but a diversion on your continued path to success and happiness.

pbenson
pbenson

There is another possibility. It could be that the experienced guy actually sees better ways to do the job. As one of those who, at 55, moved firms to one that had been run by insiders for 15+ years I found the mindset was "we've always done it that way" and "not invented here". It was frightfully expensive and breaking that mold has been very, very difficult.

harip
harip

I must say good set of options, Personally Option 1 & 4. Cut through the nonsense, and find out why ? If the boss knows better, your loyalty must be respected, shouldn't just bounce off a new VP just like that.

adam.cox
adam.cox

I'd like to believe that getting into an executive role like VP-whatnot or Chief-whatever would require a person to have superior communication skills. That said, the CEO should be proactive to uncover and bring to attention these matters to parties concerned and give them about a month with weekly pings to sort it out. If they can't sort it out, then the new VP is out. Besides, if this new VP is worth their salt, they should be able to play amicably with the other more senior folks. Warm regards, Adam Cox http://vorba.com http://adamcox.net

capodieci
capodieci

I don't know this specific case, so I cannot judge it, but as a business owner, I can see the point of view of the top management: a new guy, with potentially more (life at least) experience can come in and (finally?) make things change, where no particular improvement happened lately. Maybe this (not too sensitive and ethic) older manager is doing what he is doing in good faith: with his experience he can see how to solve things that a younger manager maybe does not. Maybe he previously tried to suggest solutions, without results. In my career I learned to value older people not for their specific technical skills, but rather for their understanding of humans behaviors, thus capacity in solving problem that people that is too technically focused will hardly solve. just my 2 cents.

eyupo92
eyupo92

Looking at my experience, the new guy have just started with Gerald, it will not take him long to reach and beat other managers. If he was brought in as a "star" found by a head hunter, it might very well he has seen that he can not do the work he is supposed to do and has started a war on old organization. His time left may be very little. However, that does not mean Gerald should allow himself to be beaten. Hi should fight back, as ruthless and political as possible. I would advise Gerald in Miami to get this book, read it thoroughly a few times, and kick the new guy out in less than 6 months. http://www.amazon.com/Eat-Be-Eaten-Corporate-Politician/dp/0735201439 I advised this book to all VP level people who were in danger and all of them still thank me when I meet them.

jwildhair
jwildhair

While having that coffee or cocktail, ask if he minds if you take notes. If he doesn't mind, leave on your digital audio recorder that he knows nothing about. You might get some dirt, you might not, but you have his permission.

j-mart
j-mart

Gerald in Miami has only worked for the same company for 12 years. the other VP may have. because of more years in the work force and having worked in more than one organization much more first hand knowledge and experience in the technology being implemented. The best thing for the company to get the results, they are paying for, may be to put egos away, work together and sort out the implementation of technology. Efficiency and productivity in the workplace is not best served by making it a battleground, but co-operation and making use of the strengths and experience of all, as a team, will

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Don't bother with the coffee either, as it'll be me in your face, no room for a cup. My response will be as private as the action that generated it, so if you did me up the back in front of everybody, put clean underwear on.... Some people find this unnerving, but that was the point.

mdbizzarri
mdbizzarri

I agree with Musashi's book, which goes along with Sun Tsu and The Art of War. One thing that we (the modern generation) tend to take for granted is that warrior spirit of our forefathers. A lot of times, it is kill or be killed. I had a boss one do a massive screw up, and he threw me under the bus. I almost got fired, was put on "probation", and he came out smelling like a rose. Looking back, there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. Ultimately, there are unethical people out there, and when you find them on your own team, it makes it even worse. I personally would set my sights on making him "disappear" with out anyone the wiser that you are involved. Best of luck to you, and hopefully you can use your brain to best your enemies like Musashi!

eebyaj
eebyaj

Just having 12 years experience at the same company does not necessarily make you infallible nor does it provide the droit du seigneur for automatic promotion and unquestioning admiration. Perhaps the 50-something was directed by upper management to help motivate the 12-year Prima Donna into picking up his end of the load. Eliminate cause for concern by staying on top of your staff and project responsibilities. The rewards of upper management come with risk. The first step is to realize that just because you have made "the show" you still don't get to slack off. Take a management course or two...you can make the time for it. If not, pack up and go home.

gary
gary

Gerald alluded that he wasn't meeting schedules, so it's hard to tell to what extent the new guy is maneuvering vs. just pointing out that things are not getting done as they should. I was similarly outmaneuvered in my last job. I wish the guy who took my job the best, because once I got out of there, I realized the whole culture there worked against success, and am much happier in my new job. Not one of the software deliveries my team missed has been finished since I left either. It was painful to evaluate what I had done and admit, really I wasn't that good of a project manager...I took on too much and left myself open to easy potshots from too many different directions. My advice is to try to keep emotion out of it, increase your physical workouts to burn off adrenaline. In the office focus on solid project management and consistently communicating what you have committed to and what you are delivering on those commitments. Work with your boss to simplify & clarify everything to a few clear goals and communicate consistently what the progress is towards those goals. If in the end, you don't hit the goals, then maybe it is time for a change. If after reviewing your goals with your boss you realize there is a disconnect in expectations- his goals for your team are unachievable...maybe time for a change. It's tough to be in meetings and have a peer manager attack you...maybe someone else can offer tips on how to handle meetings where you sense that a peer is turning your status report into an opportunity to make you look bad. I know I wasted way too much emotion and energy fretting over meetings where I knew that regardless of our actual progress, there were people there just waiting for an opportunity to pounce. All I can say is stick to the facts and keep the facts simple...all my emotion in and around those meetings along with trying to meet everyone else's expectations of perfect PM BOK / CMMI / ITIL / ISO along with a ridiculous number of deliverable dates got me nowhere but fired. Get a simple set of goals that your boss agrees with and pursue just that relentlessly, but without emotion. It's still just a job. I'm sure writing this helped me more than you!

Linda
Linda

To me this entire story is about CHANGE. The minute anyone hears that something at their job will CHANGE they lock up and stop dead in their tracks. It is the most frustrating and yet challenging human condition to manage through. In some cases the new broom should just sweep clean and move on. Folks that fight the change or sabotage the change cost the company dearly. The effort to change those folks is futile and will constantly being undermined, therefore move on. Hire new people as it takes extremely extraordinary individuals who will cooperate with change in a job or company. Most just crumble when they hear the word and take it as an afront to them. The ego just goes hyper. It is a human condition I just have not been able to figure out or work around in any position. When change comes you better be ready to replace most of the folks that just do not get it. Linda@ManagerLabs.com

Beoweolf
Beoweolf

We often tell our enemy our worst fears, which shows him how best to destroy us. The younger VP has or about to ?blink", which will seal the deal. By recognizing that he is fearful, he will confirm his being outmaneuvered. As colorfully stated above - put on clean underwear and come up with a new game plan. Young VP has been screwed (try as you might, getting un-screwed is not possible), at best all he can get at this point is revenge. I'll bet the Older VP is watching, waiting to see if the knife found its mark. Whining is Blood in the water for a hungry shark. Even when working with colleges, there always is - 1st among equals. Sitting on the nest "protecting your territory" means you cannot maneuver. To fight pirates, you need to stay flexible to out flank them. His current plan seems to be to merely hold the ground he has ... wrong plan! Another thought, maybe the CEO set up this classic confrontation? His plan is to get the best performance out of his troops; testing the younger guy to see if he blinks, might be part of the plan. Either way the CEO wins; either he gets a better, stronger VP developed in-house or he brought in fresh perspective, experience developed on someone else?s dime who will break through the log jam often created when you know the existing staff too well. If Joe is not producing, an in-house guy, may overlook it - since he knows Joe has family problems. A new VP would as the big question - What Have you done for me lately.

lq
lq

One thing the younger VP mentioned is that the 'mature' VP announced in the meeting that he 'had time on his hands'. Presumably a VP ought to be putting his full effort into the task at hand. Why does this new one have time on his hands? Are there in fact weaknesses or omissions in his project? Is he spending too little time interacting with his team? I understand that young VP felt ambushed, but had he been thinking more quickly he could have pounced on this aspect. In addition, perhaps it would be wise to go into any meeting, regardless of the purported topic, with a pocketful of recent successes in one's own area, and a problematic issue (preferably minor) only to be trotted out in dire need. A sense of the magnitude of the young VP's responsibilities in addition to his successes might also be appropriate here. The old VP can't have that much time on his hands (or that should be the implication - if he does he's contributing to company inefficiency), but perhaps could offer his experience and collaboration on this one problem area. Thus a sense of success, a proffered hand of collegiality and a veiled criticism of the older VP are all implied in this speech by the younger. If successful, this approach would likely swing the pendulum away from takeover of the whole operation by the older VP. Requires preparation, constant wariness, and a realization that not everyone in the workplace has even heard of collegiality. I also have a question. In several different circumstances recently, superiors in a couple of different jobs in which I was employed, have chosen to deal with some shortcoming of mine (and in a couple of cases the individuals involved did not check their facts, so the shortcomings were perceived rather than real) and chose to deal with the situation by publicly humiliating me in front quite a large number of people. I worked in Canada for many years prior to coming to the U.S. and although office politics were just as bad, the normal practice when a problem arose was for an initial private conversation between supervisor and supposed transgressor to ascertain the facts and attempt a solution before shaming an employee in front of the masses. Is public humiliation considered a form of motivation in the U.S? In other words, as I have now been laid off (budget cuts) by my former employer, should I expect this approach to be a standard management technique at any U.S. company with which I might gain new employment?

marcus.darby
marcus.darby

Everyone is assuming that the new VP is immoral and the company leadership is blind. First I would ask why the new guy was hired. Second why do he think he can pass the veteran VP. Maybe there?s a void in leadership. Twelve years from a worker bee to a VP is a short time to develop leadership skills. So first do a self assessment and then grow your personal and leadership skills. I suspect the new VP isn?t your only problem.

eyupo92
eyupo92

go with the book I advice. It is a lot faster and fool-proof.

Bladex64
Bladex64

Saying that the best solution may be to "put egos away" misses the point. I would like to see you walk into the new VP's office and make that request. Based on his actions to date as outlined by Gerald your idealistic approach will sound great for 30 seconds before he chews you up and spits you out. The workplace being a battleground may not be best for the organisation (though some would differ) but it seems to be the default modus operandi for most groups of people (sad but true) - that's the reality that those of use who are delivery orientated have to deal with i.e. that it is not about right or wrong, it is about power.

Beoweolf
Beoweolf

Regardless of his intentions, our intrepid VP actually set the stage for this assault. Hidden within his collegial overture to help the new VP with anything he was unfamiliar with - is a hidden, but easily discerned assumption that an "elder statesman? may not be up on the latest technology. Apparently, this assumption was premature, not based on observable facts and probably taken as a call to arms. As stated more than once, while the young may be faster, stronger, quicker ? that Is balanced by the older, experienced, veteran having cunning, guile and treachery as compensation. The nexus of this scenario was intimated by false assumption that the older manager was given his position rather than having earned it. The way out of this may require accepting a junior status - for a while, learn his style, his vulnerabilities. The best place to find the heart is under his wing. As lesson learned and remembered is a treasure beyond price.

kevaburg
kevaburg

If this tale is correct, then the new "mature" VP is nothing more than a power-hungry back-stabbing wretch. I would immediately have respect for anyone that has worked continuously for any company for 12 years and would view them as someone to learn from regardless of my position ni the company. This new VP came to the company with a plan and he needs to be brought down a peg or two and what is more, he should not be given the sort of control he wants unless he can prove he can do it. Anyone can talk a good job. I would like to think in this case though that the companies boss saw through this new guys facade wihtout detriment to his newly promoted VP. Twelve years in one company demonstrates loyalty and ability especially if you have risen through the rtanks of that company and that should come well before some new guys aspirations to be king of all he surveys.

Linda
Linda

Not sure about better or worse. The IT guy was there for 12 years and finally has the opportunity to move up. What took so long? What is going on at that company? Now they have a new project with a new VP. It sounds to me that this new VP may know more than the recently promoted IT guy. There is something else going on and without knowing more about the company it sounds like they ARE making changes. Employees can sense that stuff and if the promoted IT guy is out of the loop he feels it and is now concerned. If you were at a company for 12 years and got promoted, you should have much more confidence with your track record and you should surely be able to withstand a stupid comment from a new VP. That is to say, if it was a stupid comment. Our IT guy does not sound very confident in his new role or he has really bitten off more than he can chew and he knows it.

eiwacat
eiwacat

though i agree that much more is to be known about this situation, clearly, we do know that this behavior occurred in a very public forum. this communicates the new VP's intentions. he intended to embarrass the younger VP. in addition, he chose to embarrass Gerald in settings where various department heads and managers were present. he also publicly announced how much better suited he is for overseeing ALL company-wide ventures, then attempted to down-play his move by calling it "lending a hand." This establishes that his primary interest is his individual success, else he could have instituted change in a more private setting. perhaps the new VP is fooling others in the company with his geniality, however, Gerald's boss would be wise to pay attention to the new VP's behavior. He needs to realize that if he rewards this behavior, this same strategy will be used against the next person in line.

Foggier
Foggier

I find it interesting that he cannot go to the VP and discuss the situation, because it looks to me like the VP isn't managing or leading. Oh, I get it, once you get to be a "VP" you don't need to manage people--that's what you have a Human Resources Department for. And obviously the VP is a leader: he's the VP! (If the VP can't see the situation for what it is, obviously he wasn't hired for "those" kind of people skills...and guess who he'll hire or promote: someone just like himself!) Why can't you go to your boss, the VP, and explain the situation? Clearly, because your boss, the VP, IS a political appointment (and therefore part of the problem). Obviously, the way management is done in this corporation, as set from the top down, is by politics, that is, you choose people for positions who can most stroke your ego, and help YOU get ahead. After all, what's good for you is good for the company! Sorry for the rant, but what I'm pointing out is that the situation described, common as it may be, is due to a LACK OF LEADERSHIP, and a LACK OF MANAGEMENT. MBA's first and foremost want to "move up the ladder" to prestige and perks. "We live in the real world, and that's how you have to play the game." There's no satisfaction in being a good leader and manager and doing a good job--but give me a promotion, a pay raise, and a parking spot. We are an entrepreneurial society that sanctifies climbing the corporate ladder. But we usually fail to account for the wake of the movement. MBAs don't care about that; just give them the tools to get ahead. Until THAT philosophy changes we'll continue to have the pernicious corporate culture that led us to our current "economic downturn."

dwdino
dwdino

I am an extreme type A. I climb each mountain and conquer each hill top. This has caused many "peers" to become leary of me as they feel sidestepped or back stabbed. Sounds to me like the new guy might be similiar. He defines, aligns, and climbs. Interestingly, have 12 years with the same company seems lax to me. But again, type A... Back to point, the whiner needs to take the slap in the face thankfully. This is a wake up call to put your house in order and get your butt in gear. I most enjoy these type of peers which force me to stay on the leading edge.

kpeters01
kpeters01

I do tend to see the various sides of this issue as presented by all. Good conversation. This tale reminds me of past experiences. In a previous position, duing a monthly IT manager's meeting, I reported to the CIO that I was still working on a project, however was having an issue with the plant manager. Immediately, one of the other IT managers spoke up indicating that he would be at my location the following week and would talk to the plant manager. The implication being that I wasn't capable of resolving the issue and he was. Well, he tried to set up a meeting with the plant manager. The plant manager called me wanting to know what was going on. When I explained the situation the plant manager sent the other IT manager packing with his tail between his legs. The CIO had to intervene to address the issue which is what I was requesting in the meeting in the first place. None the less, the damage was done because "The rest of the story" was never told and the other IT managers were left believing that the other IT manager resolved my issue. In the end, the plant manager wasn't concerned with my capability which did help but it still hurts when something like this happens. kp

TechRepublic
TechRepublic

>Is public humiliation considered a form of motivation in the U.S? No. Douchebaggery is douchebaggery everywhere in the world.... If I were this guy, I would find the 'turkey' in my portfolio of projects (every exec probably has a few), convince the executives that the VP with more outside knowledge would really benefit from learning more about the operation by running [insert turkey here]. Bon Appetit! If he picks it up and does well with it, great. If he doesn't, well, try not to choke on the small bones coach...

Beoweolf
Beoweolf

If a manager is working at delegating, reviewing and revising - rather than micromanagement and correcting mistakes. It is conceivable that he has additional time to take on unfinished or failing projects. Whether they are in his division or not. If you have your ducks in a row, is it better to stay in your office and play solitare or look for new challenges. After all the elder VP is new and trying to justify his job - likely more in jeapordy than the 12 year guy, who already has a track record, which could give him a little extra leeway when it comes to lagging goals. The New guy must hit the ground running to gain any traction in his new environment. Starting a Pi&&ing contest, especially when provoked, in a meeting is generally a losing proposition. Why fight when your advesary has the higher ground? If our younger VP had be prepared; I might have been inclined to agree. Wisely he took the blind-sided hit and hopefully will step up his game to prevent leaving those kinds of openning in future. Coming into a meeting with excuses (and no plan to resolve the problem) is a losing proposition. So, far - I do not see where our complaitant has done much to deflect or justify getting the New VP to back off?

K2 YYC
K2 YYC

I think in general (which is, of course, highlighting that it's very dangerous to generalize) US companies tend to be a bit more rough and tumble on the management side. Canadian companies (and recognizing that we have many, many firms that are really just off-shoots of American corporations) tend to have a stronger "social" contract with employees. Having said all that -- you can just as easily be eaten alive in Canada as you can be treated respectfully and fairly in the US.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

One too happy in his comfort zone so leading nowhere, the other incapable of leading a 15 year old drunken male to a free prositute who looked like J-Lo... What ever the truth of the matter, there has to be a major perception problem.

j-mart
j-mart

The man with shares in the company, the owner is the Boss, these two running around wasting their time taking pot shots at each other are not doing what they are paid for, they need to be able to work together to make problems go away as that is their job. We had some in our organization, like that, all at the same level of importance but without the confidence in their own ability that they spent more time building up their own importance, going out of their way to sabotage each other rather than work together. The boss solved the problem by sacking them. If one has confidence in their skills and ability, when snowed under, with a tight deadline, and a difficult project, accepting help, when offered is a much more mature approach, after all if you are as good as you think you are, it will not diminish your standing.

dvanduse
dvanduse

I expect the new VP is actually doing this for more power and control. It would really hiss me off that he did it in front of superiors to make himself look good. But are the points the new VP made legitimate concerns that need to be addressed. Or are they standard problems that come up during project implementation.

clathrope
clathrope

Well said Sherry. The play down often fools most upper management of the blatent attack of his own 12 year employee. Often I think upper management is looking for a shakeup to increase productivity, which bringing in an outsider is the perfect thing to do. In the end, I bet the CIO will be the winner and the fallout will be either be good or bad for young VP depending on if he takes this as a wake up call or takes his beating and accepts the help or leaves the company.

Alces
Alces

Wow, what a rant. So the conclusion is, that MBA's led us into that economic crisis? What of Master in Engineering Management or HR management? Similarly at fault? Anyway, they guy IS the VP, his boss is the CEO or so. The other guy is also a VP, so he is a peer. Same situation as if one machine operators mobs another one. This is just on a higher level with different tools and tactics. I don;t think lack of leadership, management by the VPs, and the economic crisis play a crucial role in this scenario. And who says they even have an MBA? Wasn't mentioned anywhere.

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

I thought the person telling the story was a VP himself. So I presumed their boss was the CEO or that he was at the same level as the new VP. He can go to his boss and explain the situation. But he has already been outmaneuvered. He risks appearing to be a whiner. He needs to show that his org does not need to take his responsibilities and give them to the new VP. At least that's how I read it.

dwdino
dwdino

It is not professional to throw a peer to the slaughter in a public forum, and I would not do so. I would have responded with some passifying phrase and dealt with it off of the table. "Interesting view, I would love to speak with you about that after this meeting."

JGH59
JGH59

If the disruption results in actual results, I have been known to embrace your type and have even remained friends after they've left. If you're just a buzz word babbling gun hired by someone even less informed, you won't last long anyway. If you're actually capable of embracing the established talent then more power to you. The worst mistake you can make is alienation of those who understand the nuts and bolts or worse, attempting to sabotage them. Personally, I find the person profiled in this article to be a bit weak, I never would have remained silent when someone who was not my superior questioned my performance in a meeting.

dwdino
dwdino

Different persons thrive on different things. I thrive on the challenge and achievement. I have managed many persons more intelligent and skilled than myself. Those are who I seek out at first opportunity. Laughing at me? Great, hope I can get a laugh to while they're at it. Heck, half the time I am laughing at myself and some of the choices I make. But, I drive change and progress. I gather my team, establish the goal, and celebrate the success. I do my best to empower those around me and drive them to surpass expectations. I suck at politics. Maybe that is why I choose not to stay. I couldn't care less about egos and what someone is owed. Titles are worthless. If you can deliver, welcome. Brash, yes. Effective, usually. Disruptive, most likely.

JGH59
JGH59

I've been with the same company 25 years. I've seen your ilk come and go. I've crushed your type numerous times because most of the time blatant aggression can't whip experience. Jumping from job to job may get you bucks, but you're never around long enough to fully understand anything. Your type moves into management way too early in their careers and find themselves managing people that are far more skilled and intelligent than themselves. You and your type are the reason Dilbert is so successful. You probably don't even realize they're laughing at you.

kevaburg
kevaburg

That could very easily backfire if he really can do what he says he can. Although giving the new VP the turkey could work well, what would happen if he actually suceeded? Firstly, by making a good job of a previously bad project, he has proven his worth to an extent. At the same time, he has made the projects predecessor look bad and that could well be the person that gave him the turkey in the first place. Secondly, the food chain changes. This new VP could well find himself higher up the food chain than the VP that set him up. If that happens and the new VP takes over the project, then someone could find themselves out of a job quite quickly. Although the turkey idea can work, be very careful how you implement it because you could make someone else more valuable than you own good self.

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