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Part II: Why was I booted off customer training?

Dear Office-Politics,

My Business Office Manager has taken training of our customer service from my responsibility and given it to another. I have been in charge of training for 2 years and have had no complaints from my people or from the Organization and I have been told I was doing a good job. How do I confront this problem?

Unpleasantly Surprised


dr. rick brandon
dr. marty seldman

Dear Unpleasantly Surprised,

Sorry, Rick and Marty cannot answer your letter. This task has been assigned to someone else…

Just kidding…


Many times in the work environment, a situation occurs that can be interpreted in many ways. Let’s pretend that you are never placed on a cross-organizational team while others from your team are. Well, the reasons could be any number of sound issues (e.g., you cannot be spared from other more important work, you don’t play well in the sandbox and have questionable people skills, you do communicate well but do not have a broad understanding of the company enough to link your team’s work with other teams’ work, you perhaps don’t represent the work of the team well enough, you are so into your team’s work that you are viewed as myopic and unable to think strategically, it is not respected to be on the task force so it’s actually a show of respect to omit you, etc.)

The point is, that you MAY be still seen as having done a stellar job on customer service training, but there could be many other dynamics. You may be jumping to conclusions. You know the old maxim, “To assume makes an ass out of u am me (ass-u-me).” So, with whom can you network to explore potential reasons?

You might explore the rationale with others you trust to know the low-down truth and to speak that truth in uncensored fashion to you. Of course, usually, the quickest route from one point to another is a straight line. Should you take a straight line route and go ask the Business Office Manager what the story is? That depends upon your relationship, your power, his/her power, the status of your Relationship Bank Account and Political Bank Account with the BOM, etc.

We also are interested in how high up on the political totem pole the actual function might be. Is it revered, viewed with disdain, or what? Because it might be a GOOD thing that he or she views you above that task, so find out! Otherwise, you start crazy-making…. to yourself. Perhaps this is an informal promotion.

Finally, another question to ponder is who received the task instead of you? If it’s a lower level person, therein may be your answer, that it is not a valued position and you’ve earned your way out of it after two years, paid your dues so to speak. Bottom line, if you cannot decipher the code, someone can. Find that person.

If it IS a bad thing to have lost the role and it could hurt your perceived value to the company, then look in the mirror.

What have you done that might have earned disfavor? Did you unwittingly do something upsetting to the BOM? How can you repair that rap and rebuild your political stock? You may not have adequately “put your hand print on your work” so that you did not document the terrific job you’ve been doing on training.

Find ways of broadcasting in non-crass ways whatever your contribution is; otherwise, you may suffer from symptom substitution whereby the same problem occurs in the next role of importance. So could you have published an article in the company newsletter about this quarter’s most valuable tips on service training, etc.? Additionally, find other value-added actions you perform for the organization and find ways to ensure that power holders know about them. This sounds opportunistic so it must be done tactfully to not back-fire, but most companies are a “what have you done for me lately” system.

Find ways to have others in your network spreading word of your accomplishments and expertise, perhaps telling anecdotes at lunch about how pleased you were that you were able to assist a colleague, hoping that your lunch mate might become a positive grapevine branch, serving as a commercial for your input and assets.

We’ll be interested to hear what you learn as you uncover a few rocks. Our best wishes!

Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.


Rick Brandon, Ph.d. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. Co-authors,
Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success

cover of Survival of the SavvyRick Brandon, Ph.d. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. are Co-authors, Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success. Dr. Rick Brandon is CEO of Brandon Partners. He has consulted and trained tens of thousands at corporations worldwide, including Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries. Dr. Marty Seldman is one of America’s most experienced executive coaches. His 35-year career includes expertise in executive coaching, group dynamics, cross-cultural studies, clinical psychology, and training.

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