The show pony is now the CEO and we are going bananas. Help!

Dear Aunty B,

We have a senior employee who is a really big name and is on the speaker circuit, for example, but he can’t run a business for quids.

He is totally disorganised and scatty, never at the office to make the decisions he needs to make, changes his mind every few seconds on strategy and drives everybody bananas.

It was fine when he had a senior role because we just restructured around him and he is a lovely bloke and was happy to do what we told him, but now he is the head honcho we all want to kill him! Slowly!!!

It can’t go on, but the board love him, as does everyone else that meets him. One of my colleagues thinks we should all sit back and let him fall on his face, but we love the company and could never do that.

Somewhere in Australia

 

Dear Somewhere,

Hmmm. That happens all the time in many professions. I am sure there is a name for it – anyone???

Look, there is only one thing to do. You need to structure really tightly around him just like you have done. So you sit down the leadership team and start by talking about the great strengths Dear Leader has and how you are going to take advantage of them to boost the profile of the company, sell more widgets, whatever. Then you are going to outline to everyone how busy he is going to be and that you can’t have him burning out. Then you divvy up all the jobs that won’t get done, work out who is going to do what and how you are going to keep him focused when he needs to be focused. Look for any opportunity where you or others can present to the board to show them the skill set you have, but also use the opportunity to outline risk and challenges.

Boards aren’t dumb (usually) and they fall out of love faster than you can say Rebekah Brooks. They will soon twig that the show pony should be on show and not running the big day. But, of course, I agree with you. If you ever have passive aggressive thoughts about doing nothing so things will fail, it’s time for another job.

Be smart,

Your Aunty B

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