When Companies Hire Above You To Make a Statement (or Force You Out)…

There’s a lot of plays in the ole’ Human Capital Management playbook.  There are plays for recruits, high performers, difficult team members, managers, struggling performers and more….

This play is one that’s run occasionally for low/struggling performers.  It’s called:

“We’re Hiring Someone in a Position of Authority Above You. In your functional area”

Bigger title than you.  You report to them.  You probably didn’t even know we were in the market, but we just told you, so hey – meet the new boss.   You WERE probably the boss before if this play was ran, so the Who song doesn’t apply (“meet the new boss, same as the old boss..).  If you were the boss and we just hired a superior above you to run your department, well, it’s pretty clear the new boss is different than the old boss.

Got that?  Good.  Let’s give you an example – Sean Spicer is out as the spokesperson for the Trump administration, but his resignation didn’t come until Trump just hired someone above him.  Times:

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned Friday after telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with his appointment of Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier, as his new communications director.

After offering Mr. Scaramucci the job on Friday morning, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Spicer to stay on as press secretary, reporting to Mr. Scaramucci. But Mr. Spicer rejected the offer, expressing his belief that Mr. Scaramucci’s hiring would add to the confusion and uncertainty already engulfing the White House, according to two people with direct knowledge of the exchange.

If the moves amounted to a kind of organizational reset, it was not part of a pivot or grand redesign. The president, according to a dozen people familiar with the situation, meant to upgrade, not overhaul, his existing staff with the addition of a smooth-talking, Long Island-bred former hedge fund manager who is currently the senior vice president and chief strategy officer at the Export-Import Bank, which he joined just last month. His rapport with the president establishes a new power center in a building already bristling with rivalry.

The hiring of Scaramucci above Spicer is a classic example of the play outlined above –“We’re Hiring Someone in a Position of Authority Above You.”

Are we firing you?  Nope.  Do you have the same level of authority you did?  Nope.  Here’s a couple of things anyone who uses this play is trying to say:

You aren’t performing at a high level.  That’s obvious if we hired a new position above you without letting you know/apply.

Your performance hasn’t been great.  Also obvious if we did what we did.

We don’t think you can do everything we need you to do.

–BUT – and this is significant – we aren’t ready to fire you.  You have some sort of value, and we’d like you to continue.

Whether you continue or not in the role is up to you.  You’ll likely have to reframe how you view yourself and what the possibilities are in our organization.  Can you do that?

If you can’t, then you’ll probably resign.  If you can’t but can’t afford to resign (yet), there’s probably going to be some bumps in the road with the new boss.  

Meet the new boss.  You didn’t even have a boss in your area of expertise yesterday.  #deep

This post originally appeared on The HR Capitalist
Author: Kris Dunn