Sack your best people
Are you serious? Do you really need to sack your best people? Good posting from marketing guru Seth Godin (click here). His most recent piece makes reference to the technical wizard found in many organisations who uses his or her (usually his) knowledge / technical expertise in a manipulative manner. Perhaps not dissimilar to the diva-like behaviour of top athletes or actors who believe they know the value they bring to the table and wield that power like a bully. IT departments are a case in point. Think of the architect who designed the in-house CRM system. They know that no one else understands how the system works, so if anyone threatens them or doesn’t comply with their demands all of a sudden the sales team are rudderless. They resist producing the appropriate documentation to support the system, knowing it is wiser to keep such information safely locked in their head.
They often turn the IT function into a scene from a wild life programme. Watching the other technologists interacting with this alpha-technologist is comparable to (and as astonishing as) tuning into the National Geographic channel. That’s all well and good, but feral behaviour leads to dysfunctional IT teams. And such teams are bad for business.
Hence in the interests of the organisation as a whole, these technical wizards have to go. Accept that your organisation has created this situation; any half decent quality system would not allow a business-critical system to be at the mercy of one employee. Take the pain now and move forward.
The IT industry in general and the IT function in particular needs to stop revering/fearing their top technologists for the sake of their customers and reputation. If we want the industry to thrive and attract the best talent we have to address this now. The manipulative asocial propeller head is dead. Bring on the team playing hybrid-business technologist.
If we look at the Hollywood A-List, where divas can be found in abundance, even they know that if they don’t play nicely with the other divas on prime time chat shows, they simply will not be invited back on. Their value is not in what they have to offer, but in how they work with others to generate value. So yes. Sometimes you need to sack your best people.