Saturday, January 31, 2009

The dilemma of being an Ox

A couple of years back, I was tapped to fix a management mess that was fast incubating into a legal battle between the company and staff. The situation was not at all fun, but it was a challenge that I believed the company as a whole could hurdle.

My engagement involved recommending and implementing whatever was necessary to get the business back on track. My point person was the vice president and I was literally told: "Do your thing." I agreed and gave word, saying, "I will only put into action whatever is fair to all concerned."

Two days after being officially appointed as consultant, the president met up with me and talked me into what he thought was the best way out. To my surprise, he tried to influence me to execute the very policy that triggered all the chaos. Furthermore, I was reminded as to who actually hired me. I thought, what a convenient way to hire someone supposedly independent to carry out a psuedo recommendation, and an expensive way at that. Anyway, as a show of respect to the "boss," I listened, only listened though.

The next day, I gave my letter of resignation. I reasoned that my existence was being redundant, after having learned that a solution was already in place. Now, I reckon that I should have stopped there, but I went further to the effect of saying, "I could only do it if I were a man of lesser principles."

The company ended up not terminating our agreement and the board telling the president to back off. The decision proved to be sound as I was able to work my magic.

On hindsight, I should have acted in a more subtle manner. I guess that is the dilemma of being an Ox: not willing to compromise.

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