Ms. ABC had the right qualifications and the personality to make an impact wherever she worked. In her organisation, she was quickly taken under the wings of a very senior executive. He recognised her potential and her obvious strengths. He soon gave her a free rein, perhaps more than he did with others. Over time, Ms. ABC came to be known as the power behind the throne even if this was an exaggerated description. It was rumoured that she had a role in important decisions and that the Big Chief consulted her more than he ought to.

Ms. ABC was riding high and there seemed to be no limits to how high she would go. Things changed in no time when the Big Chief died of a heart attack, possibly due to over work. Two things happened simultaneously. A new man came into that job and the knives were out for Ms. ABC. Before she sensed what was going on, she was turfed out as there were too many people carrying grudges against her. Without the old Big Chief around, she found it was a very different ball game.

In another case, Mr. XYZ was hired by his former boss who had joined that company only a few months earlier. In view of the regard he had for his former boss, XYZ joined that company too. In a few months time, it became clear that the business they were hired to create and grow was not going anywhere. The boss left and XYZ followed suit shortly after. You won’t believe this but XYZ followed the boss to yet another company. Here too there were problems, the boss didn’t get what he wanted and negotiated a good fat package to clear out leaving XYZ and others behind. They had no hope in hell of getting such generous terms.

I am sure by now you would have got what I am getting at. It’s important that you are not too closely identified with one individual for the right or wrong reasons. As these two examples relate, Ms ABC and Mr XYZ suffered because they allowed their careers to be too closely intertwined with two individuals. Sure they did gain from that relationship but beyond a point they lost their own identity. They thrived only as long as their mentors were around.  The moment their mentors were not there, these people were devoured by the waiting wolves!

If you are over identified with one individual, you run the risk of sinking with them. You are a professional and it’s wise to spread your bets around instead of parking everything in one place. Over identification with one person can only hurt you in the end.

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