I do. In fact, I have several. Here’s one of my most annoying poke-in-the-eye scenarios; the self-appointed or self-anointed expert.
Have you experienced the same? Or perhaps to someone you know? Some examples:
Management decides to hire a bright and shiny new MBA and then drops the youthful new employee into your department with a thud. The new hire is touted as the second-coming of Jack Welsh (GE) or some other management guru; someone who will know what to do, how to solve the department's problems, how to get the business back on track. Because they have an MBA, you're told.
They're usually paid a ton of money, at least in comparison to what's paid to those who have to instruct them on how things are done here. When you add in a touch of arrogance and self-importance you often have a recipe for internal conflict, passive resistance and eventual counter-productive results.
Why is that? Resentment. Too often what they know is what they have been told. The employees see this, though management can look the other way.
Here's another example
When someone is lecturing or offering advice about compensation issues, usually in a webinar, a workshop, conference or even within a published article, I gauge the credibility of that advice, and the recommendations that usually accompany them, on the basis of whether I can take what's offered at face value.
If the advice or recommendations is coming from someone with dirt under their fingernails, who has walked the talk and spent time in the trenches of dealing hand-to-hand with employees and their compensation issues, then I listen and take notes. On the other hand, if the presenter has a progressive track record of college, advanced degree, consulting firm and then telling me what to do at work, I confess that I usually have a less positive reaction.
I've been burnt before by the lack of "street smarts" that plague the new certificate holders, academics and "wunderkind." So I don't read those articles. I don't listen to those speeches. Because in my view that's not experience talking, that's book learning and a view of common or "best" practice as studied by those who haven't walked a mile in my shoes. It's "case study consulting."
My father used to complain that college was teaching me "book stuff, not common sense." He might have been on to something.
When I fly, I like to see that the pilot has a bit of grey hair. Gives me confidence that they've got some hours under their belt, and can likely handle themselves outside of the aircraft simulator.
For their part, a seasoned compensation practitioner is one who has been there, has tried different methods, has bumped their head a few times and has learned what works - and what doesn't. Even more important, they've learned the why of things. They’ve dealt with practical issues, with employees as well as managers, and they’ve gained a perspective about what works in their particular organization.
Those who have only analyzed case studies in a classroom environment simply don’t have the depth and breadth of practical experience to advise on the basis on anything other than what they‘ve read, what someone else has told them.
Because the circumstances within my organization, the internal dynamics, the office politics, the management bias, and even the workforce culture are not the same as you would find in the next organization. There's no cookie cutter solution out there, nor off-the-shelf magic potion that works for everyone. What I need is what will work for my organization, not yours and not some conceptual average "everyman" organization.
But that's me. You may see things different.
Likely you have your own pet peeves.
Chuck Csizmar CCP is founder and Principal of CMC Compensation Group, providing global compensation consulting services to a wide variety of industries and non-profit organizations. He is also associated with several HR Consulting firms as a contributing consultant. Chuck is a broad based subject matter expert with a specialty in international and expatriate compensation. He lives in Central Florida (near The Mouse) and enjoys growing fruit and managing (?) a clowder of cats.
Creative Commons image, "The God Complex," by angelofsweetbitter2009