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I've decided that to protect my identity I would use my anonymous user id for this post.

I'm being asked to relocate across the country to help lead a $300M business.  It represents an incredible opportunity for me personally but also involves a very messy organizational structure.  I know the division fairly well as I've spent roughly 50% of my time this year there as part of a transition team.  I'm torn between the allure of the opportunity and the risk of the situation.  I'm looking for others to offer some counsel.

I would be responsible for the office functions (sales & marketing, customer service/warranty, engineering, finance, and HR) .  I would have one peer who would be responsible for manufacturing, supply chain, and warehouse functions.  The two of us would report to a VP who does not have the confidence of those above him (EVP & COO) and is being called a "figurehead".  The EVP is ready to fire the VP for ineffectiveness.  The COO is worried that firing the VP would create panic in the organization as this individual and the division was part of an acquisition about a year ago.  

The plan that has been articulated by both the COO and the EVP is to essentially use myself and my peer to insulate the organization from this VP's influence and .  It's even been said that we should try to get him to travel as much as possible so he's not around.  Then the hope is that the VP will see the writing on the wall and kind of fade off into the sunset.  I know about all of these discussions because I have been in the room for conversations between the EVP & COO where the three of us have discussed the division.  As I mentioned, I am a member of the organization that made the acquisition about a year ago and would be coming in from the corporate headquarters/primary operating division.  My peer in this scenario is transferring into the division from another division which was part of the same acquisition - I haven't spent very much time with him at all and am unaware of his awareness/take on the political turmoil in the division.  

The best way I can describe this situation is that my peer and I would sort of be Co-Directors for the division, reporting to a lame-duck VP.  Here are my primary concerns:

  • How do we set and communicate a clear vision for the improvement that needs to be made in this division.
  • How do we evaluate the need for and pursue the right talent for the team.
  • How do we manage shared accountability for the performance of the division.
  • What do we do when people go to the lame-duck VP (which they will given his longevity in the organization)?
  • What do we do with the people who are tied to this lame-duck VP and have already shown signs of being resistant to change?
  • Since the EVP & COO really don't want this VP making the critical strategic or tactical decisions for the division, what do we do if my peer and I can't agree?

Sorry for the long post, but I would really appreciate it if anyone could share their experiences or perspectives on this situation.

Thanks.

jason_koch's picture

I'm interested to hear how you went with this "anon41"...

anon41's picture

 Still unresolved . . . but moving closer.

I've told my management that I cannot make a decision about the opportunity until there is a firm offer.  Should be coming this week.

Still plenty of time to offer advice if you've got any . . .