Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Trojan Horses

You can find Trojan horses in workplaces.

Beware. These creatures appear to expand the power or prestige of the recipient but actually sap it.

They are welcomed by the politically inexperienced and politely rejected by those who are more savvy. The latter know how time and resources can be greedily consumed by the ravenous beasts and that any glory associated with the extra responsibilities will quickly fade. They also understand that these "extras" are often presented without an increase in funds so the ultimate effect is that of a budget cut.

Even if additional money is given, the Trojan horse frequently brings another negative: controversy. Some breed litigation. They also are high maintenance and attract the attention of vexatious people.

I spent several years of my career fending off these so-called gifts. Some were offered by enemies; others by innocents who were genuinely perplexed at any rejection. They assumed that anything that increases the size of a department also increases its power and influence. They missed a basic truth: size, power, and influence are very different things.

Less can indeed be more.

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