Thursday, March 19, 2009

Job, part 19

How to advance in your career by taking over your department and ruin the careers of others.

Assuming you don't mind being a Macchiavelli to get ahead.

Here are a set of guidelines to achieve your goal, including...

-- How to eliminate competition in the workplace.

How to marginalize all threats to your power.

-- How to neutralize employees in current positions of authority, responsibility or power.

-- How to sideline those who might be competitive or those who could pose a threat to you.

(Needless to say, I am not advocating the behavior described here. I am detailing how it was done. You can easily deduce whom this describes from the events in previous posts.

You may have in your organization someone as described here. Be aware and beware. People like this destroy the careers of others, and in so doing destroy companies.)

OK, here it is. Suppose you are hired into a position of some authority, such as a manager.

Your goal is to advance. This means undoubtedly increase your responsibilities and authority, but also it means increasing your power. You realize it also mean that you must eliminate threats to your power and your plans.

Your realize that normally people think that eliminating competition means removing or circumventing those above you who might stand in your way of advancing, but that is not the half of it. You know that before you can advance you must neutralize those below you who pre-date you and are in positions of authority or responsibility; these are the ones who present a more immediate danger to your goals and organizational plans. Without their compliance, your efforts will not be sustainable; you determine must remove them from their current roles.

You really don't care about the work or relationships that existed before your arrival; your goal is to make yourself the top of the heap.

How can you do it all?

- Remain sociable with everyone, even those you are seeking to eliminate. Do not act hostile or abrogate. This does not mean you must ingratiate yourself, but never behave in a manner that would reveal your intentions.

- Kiss up to those above you. Needless to say, shamelessly complement their plans and activities.

- Seek a sign of status. Get a bigger office. Can you get someone moved out of a corner office so you can move in? Relate to your boss that, in order to do your job, you need to be seen as someone in authority.

- Remind those who pre-date your arrival that you are in a position of power, but only do this in certain ways.
For example, never outright demean them, but in meetings periodically find something small about one of them to joke about in a ridiculing way that appears to be simple and innocent joking around; never more than one person per meeting. Rotate this attention among all who pre-date you, and randomize it so it never appears a constant.
Another example, when possible, in group meetings summarize conversations you have had with higher ups about corporate plans and strategy. Be careful not to sound like you are lording your relationships over your employees; just consistently remind them you have an 'in' with the powerful.

- Develop reorganization plans that include you and your projects in the center, of course couching everything in terms of corporate strategy.

- When resources are needed, hire people you have worked with before. When at all possible, circumvent the normal hiring process to be able to hire some as consultants who work at home. Of course, these are people you have worked with before; they would be loyal to you, have no prior ties to the organization, and have much less contact with the on-site staff.

- Particularly helpful when hiring loyalists is to include project managers. To avoid appearance of duplication of the work of current employees in that role, these project managers are hired to assist in implementing according to your reorganization plans.

- Take under your wing all new hires hired after your arrival. Take them out to lunch, invite them to 'think' sessions; do not include employees who were there before you. These newer employees, knowing you as a leader, will grow loyal to you. It also distances them from the employees who predate you.

- Include in your reorganization plans and strategies to "reduce personnel costs" and "get economies of scale" by outsourcing work off shore. Of course and not surprisingly, the outsource company is one you have worked with before. (One of the larger benefits, to you, of this aspect is to instill a sense of instability and an uncertain future to the staff at large. Feelings of uncertainty in the staff is a good thing from your point of view, it allows your power to be more critical; pleasing you could be seen as a way to survive.)

- To avoid suspicion, you initially determine that your pet project should be outsourced. Later in reviewing strategy, you subsequently determine that it would be more efficient that other projects should be outsourced, your project is "too complex" and "too central to our corporate future" to be outsourced.

- How to make an organization in your image:
(a) In your reorganization plans for the department, you determine all the skills needed for each position, and you also look at each person in the department and assess their skills.

(b) Reviewing the personnel available and the skills needed to implement your plans, you especially focus on employees in current positions of authority, responsibility or power who are in your department but pre-date your arrival, including those below you in the hierarchy you wish to marginalize. (Let's call these employees you wish to sideline as "Victims".)

(c) Find ways to determine that these Victims are the ones who are the cause of whatever problems you are determine need to be fixed, and be sure your upper management knows of your 'findings'.

(d) Find strong skills that each Victim has that will complement your reorganization plans but removes them from their current power center, and avoids them creating a new power center. This is usually most easily accomplished by finding a technical skill for them to concentrate on, as apposed to a managerial skill.

(e) To an extent possible, those technical skills you wish to assign to Victims will be those that potentially could be outsourced in the future (which would place those Victims in more of an uncertain state).

(f) Based on market conditions, these technical skills that you wish Victims to concentrate on would cause them to be overpaid. You wish to make them feel comfortable for the time being, and even make the new situation inviting; but of course it is unsettling since they too know they would be overpaid. This is a good situation for you: having Victims feel comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. Your initial goal is not cost savings, but getting them away from their power center[s]. Later, once they have settled into their new roles and your organization plans are more firmly in place, you have the opportunity to quietly bring up to your boss that, well, these Victims are overpaid, and in view of the many outsourced roles, expenses could be saved by a more judicious use of resources, etc.

(g) Be sure to get ambiguous and coded phrases into people's performance reviews. Phrases like "cautious about change" is one sure to warm the heart of a CEO looking where to cut staff.

(h) When the next planning session occurs, conveniently leave these Victims out of the main set of your plans, always include them only in peripheral areas.

- Determine how you wish the entire development process to be done. Do this without input from anyone below you. At the next all-hands meeting in which either major strategy changes and/or budget constraints are announced by your boss, include a segment in which you present your development process plan without requesting or accepting discussion or feedback; it becomes a fait accompli because everyone is focused on the previously announced strategy/budget news.


So there you have it. A detailed description of what one person has done and continues to do and the havoc he continues to wreck on those around him.