Toady on Freaky Friday: Bring your friends to the party*

This week we have another fantastic idea how to ruin your projects…*
Are you anywhere in a management position? Perfect, because you will probably be able to bring people inside the company.  Try to integrate some of your friends. In the best case you kick out some good people to be replaced by your friends.

This tactic is very likely to be successful in bigger companies, especially when you do this in environments that have an existing structure. It is likely to fail if you are just in a small company, when you are responsible to build up a new business unit or do firefighting. In this case hiring a friend can be a very successful measure, since you know the person you work with and you can build a team very fast. So we do not talk about project firefighting or development of new business units. It’s only worth a try, if you do it in a daily business area with existing structures.  You will see a couple of interesting effects here.

First of all some people will be very frustrated, because kicking out the good guys usually brings down the moral of the other good guys, because their role models / heroes / friends / colleagues are getting sacked. Productivity will sink down to bottom level (however this is a good point to measure the bottom level of productivity if you like). And it will take some time to recover, if ever. Also some might think that it was their turn to fill out the position and they were outrun. If you can identify these people, they are the perfect base for political games later.

The second effect is that it’s hard to replace the good guys. So the friend you put in place will very likely fail to fill out the position 100%. So in the view of the subordinates that means that you replaced a good person by an incompetent one. In retrospect even mediocre people can rise to heroes or martyr in such a situation. Also they assume – no matter how good your friend is – that he came only in place because he is your friend, not by his skills.

And as last effect the people working for/with your friend will never really trust him. They will always assume that he is your personal spy and will report everything to you. It is very unlikely that your friend will be able to emancipate himself enough.
So when thinking about all the stuff above you maybe should not pick your best friends for this tactic. It is likely that they will have a pretty hard time and at the end you maybe have to replace them…

* Legal disclaimer: What you read here may cause havoc to your project, when applied. Neither nor the author will take any responsibility for the effects. So read carefully. You are responsible for any action you take after reading!

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