Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Narcissist End Game

Let's play The Narcissist End Game.

I've personally watched this occur on two occasions in organizations within which I've worked. The two people who perpetrated it were best friends, which of course is fascinating. I've decided to write about this psychopathic behavior because I'm watching the exact same thing happen at Microsoft with this week's full and final departure of Bill Gates. He has left behind Steve Ballmer to run the show. The result is that Microsoft has begun its death throws. I've been documenting these death throws over at MacDailyNews over the past couple months. Apparently, Windows Phone 7 is yet another one, just in time for Bill's final fare-thee-FAIL.

Here's how The Narcissist End Game works:

The leader of an organization is so insipidly narcissistic and insecure that he (or she) can't bear the thought of leaving behind a system that will soon forge ahead into the future and forget him. Therefore, the narcissist sets up the organization's demise by putting an incompetent in line as his successor. The narcissist then departs and lets the carefully placed gears turn and grind. The end result is the catastrophic failure of his once wonderful organization.

Everyone left behind then sings in unison:
Oh, how we pine for the days when [insert narcissist here] was running the place! Oh how we miss him! When he left, everything fell apart. Only he could hold it together. If only he could return and save the day! Oh Oh Oh!
Get it? Sick stuff. And it is very real. I watched this happen at the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine's Photography department AND at Eastman Kodak's Scientific Imaging department. In both instances the secretary was put in charge as the successor, with predictable consequences. I expect those two best friends sit around toasting themselves and their final achievement.

Now sit back and watch it happen at Microsoft. I almost feel sorry for them, but not quite. 'Oh for the days of Mr. Bill.'



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