Outmaneuver the Old Guard

A true story…

Many years ago a young man was being blocked from moving ahead within his professional discipline by a committee of his peers.  The reviewing body had the authority to block his transition to the highest level of his profession, in effect, ending his career.  You see, this young man had struggled a bit, and the old guard was not interested in wasting anymore time on him.

However, one member of the committee saw something in his colleague that he felt was worth a second chance.  The challenge however, was that it was time to vote to move him ahead or to block his movement to the final level.  The vote was taken, the young man was not successful, and in most circumstances that would not only be the end of the story, but the end of the young man’s career.  (By the way, he had completed a Master’s Degree and was already working in his field at the time of the vote.)

As the group began to depart, the member of the committee who saw potential in the young man asked that he be allowed to speak.  Believing he caught the man in an error the  Chairman said “you can not open any further dialogue in this matter. Only those that opposed his promotion may be allowed to speak, and you clearly are in support of him.”
Enter procedural maneuvering…the lone voice that supported this man asked that the register of votes be reviewed. Knowing he would lose, he voted against the man in the first round of voting to ensure he could take the floor and speak on his behalf. Absolute genius.

Not only did the procedural move capture the group’s attention, it forced them to reconsider their position entirely.  Following an eloquent presentation on the man’s behalf, the group passed him through on the second vote.

How About You
Who do you see around you that could use a second chance? Just because someone isn’t a good fit in one area, doesn’t mean they won’t add value somewhere else in your organization.  Take the time to understand all of the options, and then stand up for someone who deserves your support. That’s what leaders do.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of deborahshanetoolbox