Nepotism in a Family Business

Nepotism in a Family Business The last post examined a family business not operating well. Did you pick out their problems? Nepotism is one but there are others. Nepotism  Large companies are not always a picnic to work in, but usually the Powers-That-Be have realized the problems associated with hiring or working with a relative. Thus, it is usually forbidden. However, in a family business, it’s not only allowed but a foregone conclusion. Initially, family is probably needed because they might work at lower (or no) wages until the business takes off. And when it does, it’s only natural to extend employment to other family members. So, in our example, the mother, daughter and son are all in the business. But being family doesn’t mean having the marketing, finance, production, or organizational skills that the job requires. For a non-family employee—presumably hired because they did have what the job needed (like You)—this can be galling. And, as in any company, people who can’t or won’t do their work, make it more difficult for those who want to do a good job. Non-performing workers might be fired in a larger company, but, in a family business, the personal may supersede work…

Differing Orders—Refuse the Project?
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / November 11, 2019

Differing Orders—Refuse the Project? The CEO of your company encouraged working across silos, but your boss Sean has a differing view. In the last post, you asked Sean’s permission to go ahead with a cross-silo project. He was either angry or gave you a chance. Problem is you don’t know which one it will be before the fact. Wouldn’t it be best to avoid undertaking the project completely, given you know that Sean is lukewarm to the idea? What kind of risk are you taking in asking about differing orders? You presumably know Sean to some extent. You’ve seen his reaction in other situations. Does he fly off the handle when things don’t go his way, or stay calm? Does he allow differing views on his orders, or do you know not to question him? These and other indicators can give you some predictive power on his reaction to broaching the cross-silo project. Pay attention. Should you assume the worst? If, after this assessment, you’re pretty sure that he’ll go ballistic, you’d be wise to keep your head down. But what if the risk doesn’t seem so extreme? What if he might go for it? In this case, I’d encourage…

Incompatible Orders—Ask Your Boss?
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / November 4, 2019

Incompatible Orders—Ask Your Boss? Your CEO (Danvers) gave a rousing speech about breaking down silos which seemed incompatible with your boss Sean’s views. In the last post, you and your buddy Ethan from another section decided to go ahead with a cross-silo project. Sean did not react well. Given this, should you have asked him first even though you think he would have said no? Let’s see what happens. Asking your boss about incompatible orders even if he’s kind of a shit Sean: What did I tell you after the staff meeting? You: You said to keep working— Sean: Exactly—just work on the projects I assign you. You: But what about the CEO— Sean: (makes a disgusted noise) These mucky-mucks don’t know what they’re talking about. The trick is to keep your head down until they go haring off after another great idea. You: But if she really wants to change things— Sean: I’ll tell you if you need to change anything. You: Ah, okay. So you’ve asked and as you’ve feared, Sean has vetoed the idea without even giving you a chance to explain. You’re discouraged and Sean is probably pissed off that you questioned his original order. If…

Contradictory Orders—Follow the Big Boss?
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / October 28, 2019

Contradictory Orders—Follow the Big Boss?   In the last post, you went to an inspiring all-staff meeting where the CEO, Ms. Danvers, encouraged everyone to work across silos to create greater team work. You think it’s a great idea although your boss Sean seems to be giving off contradictory vibes. But your buddy Ethan from another unit (silo) of the company is also enthusiastic and suggests you work together on a great new app. You really believe in the CEO’s message so you agree to start work on the project. For the next couple of weeks, you work hard on it and you’re getting excited about its potential. It’s taken more time than anticipated but you figure with one last push, you’ll at least have a demo. You can imagine the CEO using your work and Ethan’s as an example of cross-silo teamwork The potential downside of following the CEO’s contradictory orders   However, at the beginning of the third week, Sean leans over your cubicle wall. Sean: Hey, Ange, I was expecting the Houston redesign on Friday. What’s up? You: Oh, sorry, Sean, it’s taking longer than expected. I should have it to you by the end of the…