Doug Ford: hitching his wagon to the wrong star

Posted December 10, 2013 in Career Management, Latest News & Insights

The talk of the town in Toronto for the last little while has been the antics of our mayor Rob Ford.  His leadership foibles have been documented ad nausea, so I’m not going to go there.  Instead, I thought I’d take a look at his number one advocate and hanger on, his big brother Doug.  The question that runs through my mind is this: will Doug Ford’s career survive or will he get painted with the same brush as his brother (if he hasn’t already)?

Early on in my career, I worked for a guy who was painted as a bit of a superstar…a veritable corporate saviour.  One day he said to me, “listen… don’t hitch your star to my wagon”.  (Um… well, actually I hadn’t been, but this guy wasn’t short on ego either.)

Regardless, the advice stuck in my head.  He left the organization the following year and, sure enough, the “new boss” wasn’t anything like the “old boss” and by default (I was hired by the “old boss”), I was no longer enjoying the “inner circle” I’d once held.

Over my career, I’ve watched many a leader align themselves to “superstars” and high fliers with varying results.  In some cases, when the superstar leaves, they take the hanger-on with them (further cementing the hanger-on’s reputation as one of not being able to stand on their own two feet).  In other cases, and particularly if the superstar was also a pain in the behind (aka Rob Ford), the hanger-on who stays behind quickly gets thrown under the bus.

Riding on someone else’s career coattails may get you ahead in the short-term, but it’s highly unlikely that it will keep your career on track over the long haul.  It’s probably time to let go of the apron strings and stand on your own two feet.

Let’s see what happens to Doug Ford when the dust settles.  My guess is that his dream to run at the provincial level may be a hard one to realize.  Then again, stranger things have happened and he could, in fact, be our next PM.

Happy leading!

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  1. Mel says:

    Honestly, I don’t know who’s hitched to who, but I hope both their stars implode. They remind me of these jerks…

  2. Karin says:

    The last comment about the possibility of Doug becoming our next PM made me seriously shudder. However, as you said, stranger things have happened.