How Not to Change from Hero to Zero

In every organization, there is a group of people who are the untouchables.

Their jobs are always safe.

The company may be suffering numerous consecutive quarters of negative growth and even those who performed and delivered and who have labored for the organization for decades had to be laid off to minimize operating costs, but this group of insiders will continue to keep their jobs.

It’s basically cronyism pure and simple.

These are protected members of the boss’ inner sanctum – the company mafia, its seat of power.

In good times and bad, this unholy alliance can do no wrong.

They run the company as they see fit.

They think they are the only ones that are right.

Even the best and brightest are being ousted.

In fact, anyone that outshines any member of the inner sanctum will be put down.

Worse, this insidious group panders to their toadies and bootlickers, protecting them and shielding them from harm’s way.

Lots of talented resources had their capabilities suppressed so that this mafia could gain eminence – all at the expense of the organization and the constituents it is meant to serve.

But every story has a closing chapter.

As the Chinese say, there is no never ending banquet under the sun. All good things must come to an end.

That is the fate of a mafia group in an organization that I am familiar with.

With the control of the untouchables, the organization continued to be weakened until a coup was mounted and the mutiny resulted in the disposal of boss and his grovelers.

One sees many similar parallels in history –  from Lenin and Stalin to Saddam and Gaddafi, despots were eventually disposed.

There are lessons for us all here.

First, people have eyes. They are not blind. It is said that “when you are in it, you don’t see it” but those on the outside of the inner sanctum can see your shenanigans quite clearly.

Second, everyone has a boss – the mafia met their downfall when disgruntled employees and shareholders petitioned head office. Usually, leaders at head office are protective of those they appoint to run the local offices, but when the level of disgruntlement reaches epic proportions, head office had no choice but to act.

Third, you may enjoy being at the top, but it’s a law of nature and a matter of time before you will be brought low and humbled, if not totally humiliated and annihilated. Like they say, “every dog has its day” and you will get your comeuppance, eventually. You will be crushed.

Leaders come and leaders go, one day you’re cock of the walk, the next you’re a feather duster.

The rest of the people have all the time in the world to wait you out.

So if you are in a position leadership, do a sanity check on yourself every once in a while.