"Cut them loose"

People are the most important asset of any project, team, or company. Good people working together, sharing a common vision and motivated to achieve common goals, will bring success to any venture.

People are the most important asset of any project, team, or company. Good people working together, sharing a common vision and motivated to achieve common goals, will bring success to any venture. Conversely, the presence of conflicting personal goals and agendas contributes significantly to many IT failures.

Failures can arise when team members emphasize personal agendas with higher priority than shared project goals. In starker terms, when personal goals and ambitions undermine or damage a project, there's a big problem. When senior managers engage in this behavior, the situation becomes intolerable.

Eric Benhamou, networking industry pioneer, describes how he responded to undermining executives while CEO at 3Com. From an excellent interview conducted by Sramana Mitra (emphasis below was added):

The two founders of Palm, Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinski, were in my office explaining to me why I really should not buy Palm and that I should just spin it out. They preferred to be autonomous.

They decided to part ways; it was an abrupt separation. At the time I felt good about it because I did not think that they were going to be serious players inside the company, they would only help themselves but not me. Usually when you go through a fickle situation, you have to find out who is on the boat with you rowing, and they were not rowing on my account.

What a great description of the problem and solution. No matter how valuable someone might be, regardless of their great talent and vision, if they undermine your project, cut them loose.

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