Surviving Soldiers

Surely you have been in a company where a new CEO comes and everything the previous had done, gets lost, cancelled, blocked and at the end, it goes to the trash.

Maybe even you’ve seen this in political transitions. The new government throws away everything the previous one built or visioned, specially with opposite political parties.

Probably you’ve heard the new boss saying stuff like “Now we will do it right”.

Maybe you are aware of how many invested resources go to waste, projects that never finish, ideas that don’t get closure, incomplete tasks, and a lot of new stuff to come!

Even when this seems like a complete devaluation of resources, I don’t want to focus on that right now. Usually, if the new leader succeeds, no one will care how much it cost to make it happen, people usually only see the end result.

Who are the surviving soldiers?

The focus for me, is the people and the impact this situation has in a company. Every time someone arrives like this to a company, devalues the work of those who were there before. It overlooks their contribution, effort and hard work to keep the company alive, in many cases, despite the previous CEO and for sure, despite ourselves.

When this happens in the company more than once, and let’s be honest, this has turn a constant thing, people learn to line up and survive. They become “surviving soldiers” for the new general.

At what cost? At the cost of the ability of the company as a social system to move. At the cost of wasting the individual and collective talent. At the disuse of a great percentage of potential that we have as a company.

And even when we celebrate the triumphs, these will never be close to what could have been if we had done it together, considering the baggage, the salvageable, the good and positive, the stuff that serves as a good base.

Is my observation, that these companies create “soldiers” that are programmed in a way to do what is best for their survival.

They adapt to every CEO, the ones that get paid a fortune and make the “good decisions”. Then a crisis comes, the CEO gets fired, a new one (usually the opposite of the previous one) comes and the cycle begins again.

The question is, how much talented is wasted like this? I believe more than 80% in the company. And how many companies can survive like this?