Dear Bob ...
I'm the new director of enterprise architecture at a midsize corporation, and I'm getting frustrated. It's a newly created position, strongly recommended in a report prepared through a significant consulting study, and I was hired to make the concept real.
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The problem? My boss (the CIO) won't meet with me.
This started my first day on the job, when he didn't even take the time to say hello, let alone introduce me around. The situation hasn't improved since then. When I do force an encounter, he's always running around, terribly busy and apologetic. But nothing changes.
I don't have a team to manage (I need one but require his approval to hire anyone); don't know what my authority is supposed to be, and as a result spend most of each day twiddling my thumbs.
I'm thinking of quitting, but don't want the short-timer stigma on my resume. And I really want the position I interviewed for, if I can find a way forward.
What do you think is going on? And what do you think I should do about it?
Dear Lonely ...
Having shuffled through the possibilities, I'm going to make a guess, which is that you (or rather, your position) was forced on the CIO by his manager. Very likely the consulting study was a thinly veiled expression of concern over his performance, the creation of your position was a sop to his public image, he's no more able to succeed in his position now than before the consulting study, and instead of figuring it all out he's going to prove the consultants wrong by setting you up to fail.
This last isn't, by the way, conscious Machiavellianism. If it were, he'd be more competent than he is. I'm guessing it's more of an emotional "I'll show them" than a conscious move on the enterprise chessboard.
Whether this thin chain of inference is on target or something entirely different is going on probably doesn't matter all that much, but it helps to have a working hypothesis to account for his behavior, so you can put it aside and spend your emotional energy making things work.
The question is how to go about it. The answer is, through your ability to influence and persuade, coupled with two simple tactics you can use to cover your posterior, just in case.
The tactics first: