Friday, October 23, 2009

Cover Story

The executive bristled when asked about the candidate's qualifications and the caliber of some of the individual's decisions. Questioning the quality of the person was regarded not just as rude, but a form of heresy.

And then it struck me: He resents the questioning because the candidate is a member of his group, not because it is inappropriate. And members of his group are beyond questioning. Their credentials are to be presumed. The resentment may also stem from the fact that the executive knew little of the person's judgment and abilities. That task was regarded as a waste of time.

I am both amused and frustrated at how many times I've seen this attitude. Decision makers who demand high levels of scrutiny for individuals outside of their group unknowingly drop their standards when one of their own is proposed for an honor or promotion. All of the fine talk about merit becomes mere sound. This is different, they insist. This candidate is unassailable.

What they mean is this candidate is one of our own.

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