You work for some institution, and within this institution, things are not really that great.
Someone is about to retire and the majority of you have an internal candidate who is very qualified, well liked, and a shoe-in for the position. There does exist a minority at this institution that is rather disgusted with the idea of this “shoe-in” candidate taking the retiree’s position, but that is beside the point that is trying to be made with this post.
The institution goes through the motions of creating an external ad for the position knowing full well who they intend to hire. In fact, these are exciting times, as history will be made with the hiring of this internal candidate. This internal candidate is fully qualified, will hold the institution together as it still stands, keep in running as always, and make some promising changes along the way. Indeed, this will be a good candidate.
Then the unexpected happens.
An external candidate applies that makes everyone do a double take. “Who the… what the… wait… what just happened?!?”
An awkward situation has just occurred. Not only has a fully qualified external candidate just applied, but it is one that has amazing promise and drive at fixing what is actually broken about the institute. This candidate can get to the root of the problem. This candidate will not just simply hold the institution together and keep it running smoothly as it has been, but will actually fix what is broken. By hiring this candidate, the institution has an opportunity to come together stronger than it has ever been before, and make the kind of progress that nearly everyone at the institution can get on board with.
Indeed, this is another candidate that, if hired, will make history. It is a different type of history, but it is a more important type of history.
From the outside, the choice is clear. This institution should select the external candidate. But the struggle inside is real, and should not be ignored.
A strong case can be made for the internal candidate. It is who the majority is comfortable with. They know this candidate has experience at this institution and knows the ins and outs of the place. Sure, this candidate made some bad decisions in the past, but they’ve changed their minds for the better. They grew! We know this candidate. We’ve been following this candidate! And come on! History will be made by hiring this candidate! After all, this will be the first female ever to occupy this position! How exciting is that!
What about this external candidate? Even in the toughest situations, this candidate made the unpopular decisions that were correct at the time, and correct now. This candidate, although not having worked directly with the institution, and lacking the experience of the ins and outs of institution as it runs right now, does have the knowledge to make the institution better and make it run as it should. This external candidate, not only is favorable among those that stand by the internal candidate, but is also favorable to many of the minority, too! This candidate can bring people together! This candidate can get to the root of the problem and make the kind of history that is arguably more important than having the first female occupy this role.
This external candidate is all about putting a female into this position even more plausible in the future.
Again, it is the clear choice from an outside perspective, but the hard choice from those on the inside.
Fast forward… we’ve interviewed the candidates. Once. Twice, A third and fourth time. The internal candidate is beginning to see she isn’t the shoe-in she once was. Her mainstream supporters are getting upset, and are arguing the best they can to try and make it clear she is the better candidate. But it just isn’t so. She isn’t the best candidate.
The supporters for the external candidate are getting upset. It is hard for them to understand why the supporters for the internal candidate cannot see the better, yet tougher choice.
The situation sucks. It truly will be awesome to see the first female in this role! But it would be the inferior choice, and an ultimately bad decision if it were to come to pass now.
Choose wisely, and Feel the Bern.
2 thoughts on “An Ode to Hillary: The Internal Candidate”
Great post, and an apt metaphor for the situation. I especially like this line:
“From the outside, the choice is clear”
We benefit significantly from trying to see a given situation from a radically different perspective, from outside the organization.
Perhaps I'm beginning to feel the Bern.