Who You Know Matters – Another Lesson from the Firing of Carol Bartz

Who You Know Matters – Another Lesson from the Firing of Carol Bartz 150 150 Jason Lauritsen

I have, like many people, been watching with great interest the unfolding story of the firing of Carol Bartz, the recently former CEO of Yahoo.  It’s been a really interesting story to follow because both sides have handled the situation pretty poorly, making for some great stories to read.

Yesterday, I stumbled across this post on the continuing saga.  As I read through it, one particular quote jumped out at me regarding how Ms. Bartz had been seemingly blindsided by this firing.

“She did not know it was happening, even if she probably should have seen it coming,” said one person familiar with the situation. “And she had no allies at the company to warn her, either.”

She had no allies.  Granted, she was new to the company having only been there about 2 1/2 years, but “no allies” to warn her that she was standing on the railroad tracks and a train was coming?  At that level, it seems odd to me that she had not one strong ally who would have given her a heads up.

It makes me wonder about her leadership style.  It also makes me wonder about Yahoo’s internal leadership culture.  Was she trying to build key relationships, but others weren’t really interested in engaging with her?  Or, was her leadership style one that drove people away?  Perhaps some of both.

Either way, this can serve as a powerful reminder to cultivate strong relationships within your organizations.  Allies and alliances are important, in good times and bad.  Ask yourself this question, if you were about to be blindsided at work, do you have an ally at work who would give you a warning?  Perhaps more importantly, who are you being an ally to?  These alliances can make a huge difference to both your performance and your enjoyment of your work.

Relationships are important.  Just ask Carol Bartz.

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