Friday, September 19, 2008

Negative Selection

To wrap up the wildest week I have seen in the business world, Carl Icahn was on television stating that many CEOs are the product of negative selection or more appropriate here. As he said, people with ambition and ability make waves, and no manager likes that so they get fired, passed over, or set off to the side. This happens in many governments (especially crony dictatorships and oligarchies). Sadly, as many managers and vice presidents of companies view their goal in corporate america as building and preserving their empire, they start making decisions along these negative seletion lines.

Everyone has seen it. There is the person who should get the job, but there is the person who does get the job because they are a kiss ass, not as qualified and not a threat to the person who made the hiring decision. This disgusts me because I believe in a business organization based on a meritocracy. If ever put in a position of power over promotions, assignments and hiring, I promise myself to stay true to this principle. The day that I do not follow it, is the day I slap myself in the face and wake up from whatever bitchiness I may have slipped into.

Self preservation and greed are two features of human nature that are really tough to overcome. Self Preservation has been hard wired into us since the days of the caves. A coworker of mine was saying how we are all greedy (moneywise), and I said "ehhhhhh, I'll disagree". I believe people will take a quick, easy buck, and that lottery attitude has spread throughout the nation (see the explosive growth of poker/casinos). Greedy, in an evil intent, is something taught or unlocked inside of you. I'll use a family member as an example. I have a cousin who was an asshole in the 80s with baseball cards. He never met a younger kid he didn't swindle out of a good card or a sweettalk into a bad trade. Where'd he learn it from? His dad. Twenty years later, he's stuck in a home he bought at the peak thinking he could buy the crappy dump of a house off of an old widow, turn it around and flip it in time for a nice profit. Didn't happen. Is he greedy? Yes. Is his sister? No.

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