Friday, June 22, 2012

The Power Struggles of Executives

You read about a CEO stepping down or retiring and the next day articles start to pop up about how the people just behind the CEO are starting to push for the role.

How often do we read about power struggles within companies between senior executives? Not as often. Perhaps the reason comes from this parsha about Korach. Korach was also a Levi, like Moshe, but he disagreed with the direction the leadership was heading. Korach, like any competitive party, gathered up some minions and formed his alliances in order to show some force behind him. Korach found 250 people to back him in his nomination.

Moshe may have not appreciated this disruption and said the next day God would choose who was with him and lead and the others would meet some demise. And yet Korach had no fear. Maybe he was an atheist or just could not accept that God was helping them, even after all he saw.

So it is in business or coaching a team, you are only as good these days as your last win or good project or stock surge but when you lose or the stock drops suddenly you are the wrong leader and usually there is an internal "leader" that just happens to know the better way. The Board may agree or not and the internal leader may find themselves on the outside. In other occasions the CEO is ousted only for the company to fall into turmoil.

Power struggles are rarely about what is good for the company but good for the upstart executive. their ego, their money, their life but rarely about the company and it's needs.

Naturally in the end the Korach rebellion was put down, literally as the Earth swallowed them up to their death. Management does not like power struggles from within and it is a sure way to find yourself axed out of a job. Don't be like Korach, advise but don't compete with management, the odds are really not in your favor.
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Parsha Korach in the book of Bamidbar, Numbers 16:1-18:32
It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom