Coup d'état

Before I start writing... check out this link, courtesy of the Sports Guy. Hopefully, this can help you procrastinate if you are a student... and hopefully it won't get you fired if you are at work. Considering how I chose my name, I guess it makes perfect sense.

Back to coup d'état... I'd just like to use some of the frameworks I've learned from life and business school to highlight how one should deal with a coup, a betrayal, a mutiny, and so on. This should be a rather more complete approach to similar situations.

You can tell it's not rocket science. But if one can have a framework in appraoching this type of events, one can be more comfortable in dealing with it. Remember the scene in Jerry Maguire where Maguire was just fired and he's calling all his clients to retain them while Bob Sugar is in the other room stealing all his clients? That's the scene of a coup/ mutiny/ betrayal. You're in a fishbowl and things are happening fast outside the bowl. What to do, who to call, etc etc, all have to be done right away. Anyway, hope this helps.

Some basic principles:
a. Remain calm. Coups happen because you don't expect it and you didn't prepare for it. So it will be tough to stay calm and respond. Nonetheless, stay calm. What happened has happened and the only way to salvage it is to stay calm and sort things out.

b. Speed, speed, and speed. Must act fast. Your opponents have planned their thing and are light years ahead of you. Once things roll, you must close the gap between the two sides and your speedy response will be absolutely necessary. If you can't close the gap, if you wait, you lose.

c. Have an objective. Paint the picture that you would want to happen. For example, this could be return to the status quo. Or it could be a compromise of the current situation and the status quo. Or it could be an entire different animal. Paint that picture. And then work to make that picture happen for you, which will be highlighted below.

Things that need to happen:
1. Sort out the facts and lies. In a confusing situation like a coup, you have to gather the facts ASAP. Identify people you can trust and gather facts from them. There will be lies along the way. Hence, face to face meetings are the best. Trade for information if you need to. Be genuine and be honest. Most people who are not involved are keen to share information if they know why they are asked.

2. List ALL the stakeholders. Make a list of all the stakeholders during a mutiny. All of those who will be affected should be on the list. Get the numbers for all these people. You will need to call them all, Jerry Maguire-style. Assess these stakeholders: people who are allies, people who are not, peopel whom you can influence, people whom you need to get on my side, people who aren't important but are still stakeholders. The next is to strategize.

3. Create allies on your side. Start with your closest ally. Make sure they are on your side. Detect lies. If you have lost your closest ally, you are probably going to lose the war. Seek refuge. After you secure your closest ally, prioritize other potential allies. Sometimes that involves a few peripheral players, sometimes it is the inner circle. It depends. In general, start close and work outwards. Again, being honest about the situation is the key to gathering empathy and support. Some stakeholders are going to be more supportive and are willing to go the extra mile for you. Find out what is important to them.

4. Create allies on their side. There are always weak spots in your opponents team. Exploit them. Use facts to convince and pressure; don't make it personal. Unlike creating your own allies, start from the outside and move inwards. Try and corner them and offer them one way out (i.e. your way). Be careful of this type of allies; they are sometimes on the wall and will just lean whichever way is better for their personal interests. Like all types of allies, find out what is important to them.

5. Painting that picture. The execution of salvaging a difficult situation is always the most difficult part. A lot of times compromises will have to be made. Not all stakeholders are going to want your picture. Hopefully, you have done your homework and you know what everybody needs. Compromise and draw that picture for yourself and for everybody else. When incentives are aligned, people on the wall choose sides. Sometimes, it's even simpler: some general rules would govern their behavior. Either way, you're executing.

6. Deal with the culprit. Do you need that person in your picture? If not, you might want to consider a harsher response. Otherwise, offer a way out. (note that these can all be in reverse and your opponent may be giving YOU a gracious way out) Offer a solution. Don't make it personal and be diplomatic. If you have succeeded in 1 to 5, this should be a relatively easy task. You would have created a scenario in which the culprit has no choice but to join your picture. That will not likely be the case though. But I believe the more you have done from 1 to 5, the more likely you can make this scenario true.

7. Finally, if you are in the unfortunate situation... good luck.


shmoo said...

Whoa, what happened?

Josekin said...

What do you mean!?

Anonymous said...

Remain calm... What I remember is that I heard tons of F words...

BTW, have you offered a way out? hehe.