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Failure From Isolated Management


By Roy D. Follendore III

Copyright (c) By RDFollendoreIII

May 15, 2005

You will always remember that first day in charge.  Your new boss has given you free reign. You have finally been officially recognized and are now promoted into that kind of senior level position that you have always desired.  You have been given a significant staff, to go with the responsibility that matches your newly found authority.  Once you have carefully explained your expectations they seem to be responding.  Each morning they await for your approval.  They laugh with your jokes just as they submit to your decisions. You grasp the nature of power by your associations. You have joined the organizational ranks as the executive who is completely engaged in your work just as you are fully in control your destiny.

You are surrounded by people and they all seem to want to know you.  They want to know what you think.  They definitely want to know where you are.  Those who admire you, if not beholden to you at least seem to be beholden to your success. You are made to feel that you are their example, and the model of their potential success. You secretly resolve to do your best to be that model, to live up to that model set by them. Even though you may not know it yet, you have already resigned yourself to the fact that you must live up to their judgments. Just as they weigh you with respect to your new found position, you must weigh them within theirs.  Suddenly you find that the people whom you may have trusted before your promotion are no longer worthy of your time. After all, in every context imaginable, time is money and as everyone knows money is all about power. You are now different.

Although they do their best not to let you notice, this change in your behavior is in fact noticed by your family and friends. How could it be otherwise? Your family has had to be set aside for the good of the organization for which you now work and your admiration for even your closest friends have been diminished by your success. It feels to them as though through your advancement, they have taken a step back.  To you this is the way that business works; it is the way that the universe works. It is the price of success and simply a question of balance.  It is all about the dynamics of pride and you feel that you can handle that, even if others may feel differently.  To have too much is to be something that you are not, but to have too little pride is to lose the potential of being something that you might have been.

As the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months, you have become even better at those things that got you where you now are.  There is now depth to your decisions and that depth has now crossed over into the sense that even monotony of power has become transparent. The solutions that you choose to support come and go in expected ways.  The ruthlessness that seemed easy that first day has become a struggle that you have now identified with  objective emotion for it is the kind that you have learned to turn on and off at will. The role that you play at work has become an extension to the third act that you play at home. But the script of this play is immaterial for your position has become a part of you. You now choose to grace your home by your presence and though you may have once felt that life has changed, the truth it is this life that has changed you.   

Fortunately, the relationship with your boss has continued to be collegial. You have been careful to make sure that it says that way. Through skill, you have managed to steer him away from the problems that that once may have seemed imminent. You have even been awarded a bonus for doing your job. Perhaps it is an amount that once would have been a years pay.  All of this is because you have clearly ran a tight ship. By now you have carefully culled the slackers and the disgruntled from the ranks. Promotions are now more orderly, and everyone's expectations are far more realistic. No one gets something for nothing. If they want to achieve what you have, then they have to do whatever it takes, just as you have had to do.

Change has gradually been a part of your new position and this means that you have found that there are certain financial costs to becoming the top boss. To fit in with your peers you have had to change the way that you dress. You now go out to dinner and entertain far more often than you once did.  But at home you have somehow managed to pay off both new cars and the kids student loans. You have even managed to purchase that beach house that you have always wanted. It makes little difference that you have not been able to visit very often. Your recent travel schedule has been overwhelming lately. You have pledged to yourself that you will make more time for your family. Sure. So you try to think about the last time that you had family time and it is hard to pin down.  Finally you are able to correlate it to just after the that week long conference trip that you took to the Midwest.

The priorities of your life of success have been altered. You are not completely comfortable with that person that you have become. You are not the same person that you remember being.  You no longer have the time to exercise. Your once healthy diet no longer exists. You have gained twenty pounds. Irregular sleeping patterns and stomach acid periodically make you irritable. All of these are signals that everything is not optimal. On some days it begins to become a little harder to face that traffic coming in to work. Then there is that one inevitable day that arrives when a minor issue escalates into a major problem.  The solution should have been simple but it wasn't because mistakes were made and then compounded and made complicated. Of course it wasn't your fault but though it soon became your fault. Those friendly faces that expected your all knowing solutions were disappointed by the outcome and your reactions.

Your facade has evaporated and you mourn for it. Those that made you a leader are disappointed. You are naked in their eyes. Your subordinates distrust you because they have come to realize that you do not really have all of the solutions. Every action is predicated on your fear and shame. You seem to be losing control of the very thing which you have built throughout your life. Each day it comes and goes.  Your star has burst and it is as though you are in a metamorphosis of your identity. 

How can it be that the very position that you have worked so hard to achieve could be the thing that conspires to work against you? Is this idealized thing that you have created really the you that should have been, or have you built a version of yourself that would not and should not ever have existed? Where is that energy? Is it the youthful qualities of your physical shell that is diminishing your egotistical self assurance or is your ego dissolving like a lump of sugar left out on some picnic table?

Crisis after crisis moves across your desk and through your mind and it never ends. You swim above a consummate pool of piranha.  With each of problem you command they seem to take a little nip from the toes of your success. Where once you had feet that could feel the ground, you now feel compelled to float. The clumsy attempts to make yourself presentable are transparent. Where once you had fingers to feed your vanity you now seem to be left with only your palms. Of course time continues to move relentlessly and eventually you begin to find that the little things really do count. Time itself can be too slow, even though your life has gone by too fast. The hours begin to count, and then the minutes begin to count. The seconds also begin to count although time is not the only thing that counts.

The color of a rainbow and the smell of spring rain also counts. The true reasons why you didn't cut down that old tree in the back yard suddenly becomes crystal clear. What you have suddenly discovered is that all of those problems that you once assumed were your personal responsibility are not. Your pride has lifted you above everything that counts and it prevents you from gently returning to your roots.

You have allowed no one that you can now trust to follow.  You are falling.




Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved