Linchpin: An OD Intervention that Gets Your People to Think...
Organizational Kryptonite: Fear of Confrontation

When the Star Fires the Boss...

"I did my best,
But I guess my best wasn't good enough.
'Cause here we are back where we were before"...

-James Ingram

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Everything doesn't have to happen for a reason.  Take a boss getting fired for example...Sometimes you can do the right things, try really hard as a boss and yes, Dorthy - even be successful - and at the end, you still get fired. 

"They can't do that!", you say.  Sure they can.  It's a tough, market driven world.Brown and lebron

If you're a youngster (Gen Y) and below, you might not get this.  If you're Gen X or a Boomer, all you have to do is push your chair back for a couple of minutes and think about a high performing boss who was separated from a past company you worked for, and you'll say, "oh, yeah".  Now I remember...

Let's list some of the scenarios where a boss can get fired even though they've performed at a high level:

1. When goals are really, really high and the boss didn't meet them.  Perhaps artificially high, but maybe not.  Maybe they were true stretch goals that could have been reached had everything fallen into place. That's the job of the boss.

2. When the boss of the boss, the ownership, etc. is influenced by forces outside the company.

3. When there's a personality conflict between the boss and someone with more power than the boss.

4. When there's a poor fit between the style of the boss and that of the organization.

5. When you want to retain a key player and the key player wants the boss gone.

6.. When the team the boss leads is on the cusp of achieving the biggest goal, miss hitting that goal, and the easiest thing to do to send a message is to fire the boss.

Why's this on my mind?  Simple, the firing of Mike Brown, the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and up until Monday, the coach of megastar Lebron James.  Brown had a lot of success, but didn't get to the goal everyone thought he had a shot at with Lebron - the NBA Championship.  From the Boston Globe:

Of the many reasons the Cleveland Cavaliers had for firing coach Mike Brown after five seasons without an NBA title, one mattered most.

"They can’t lose LeBron James.

Less than two weeks after their stunning second-round loss to Boston in the playoffs, the Cavaliers fired Brown yesterday, an expected move that perhaps indicates the team believes it can re-sign James, the two-time MVP and free agent-in-waiting.

Brown was the most successful coach in franchise history. In five seasons, he led the Cavs to the playoffs every year, to the NBA Finals in 2007 and to 127 wins in the past two seasons. But Brown failed to win a title, and after Cleveland’s second straight early exodus from the post-season — a collapse that included two blowout losses at home and dissension in the Cavs’ locker room — and with James about to explore free agency, owner Dan Gilbert decided to make a change."

So Brown wins the "Coach of the Year" award two years ago, and this year he's gone.  Is there any doubt that the Cleveland organization made a call to Lebron before squeezing the trigger on the change?  Mark this high performing boss change under #1 (high, high goals), #5 (retain key player). and perhaps #3 (personality conflict between boss and someone more powerful - Lebron).

Like Bob Sugar once said to a client - "It not show friends, it's show business". 

 

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