Of course you have. Likely it's happened to you more than once. The experience is a frustrating one, isn't it? And can provide more than a little dent to the ego, if you dwell on it. After all, you're the professional, the knowledge expert responsible for Compensation in your organization. That's what you're being paid for. To know what to do. Not only should management be listening to you, or so you think, they should be agreeing with you.
Wake up and smell the coffee
But this isn't the classroom or a WorldatWork or SHRM certification seminar. What all too often happens in the real world can be quite a bit different than what you see in the textbooks or hear from conference or webinar speakers. Sometimes management takes your input, listens to your reasoning and proposals, but then decides to move in a direction different from what you had recommended. And they may not even explain why.
Every seasoned practitioner at some point needs to become accustomed to the realization that the recommendations they present to management, be they for large projects or part of day-to-day advice, aren't always going to be accepted - and not necessarily because they're bad ideas. When management decides to go "rogue" on you it's not necessarily a reflection of your capabilities or professionalism. Or even mistakes that you might have made. They simply have a different perspective than you.
In such circumstancesthe decision-makers usually have more angles to consider than only the compensation point of view. Whether they're looking at business projections, the potential impact of share price, financial strength of the company or simply confidential plans going forward that you're not privy to, they need to weigh your recommendations against what else they know that relates to the matter at hand. Or what they consider more important. Or simply their own biases for and against certain ideas.
After all, it's their business, their budgets, their employees. They can do what they want. Hard as that may be for you to swallow.
What you have to be careful about is how much you want to push your viewpoint in the face of management reluctance, self-interest or just flat-out personal bias. Which may not be a career enhancing move.
You need a thick skin
When leadership chooses a different path than the one you've recommended, that decision doesn't necessarily diminish your role in the organization, or the degree to which your viewpoint is valued. If you've done your job and made sure that the relevant information and decision points are on the table, and that your leadership therefore has their eyes open to the issues and the ramifications of choice, you can relax that you've done all that there was to do. You can sleep well tonight.
Because your responsibility is to advise, to offer the best professional recommendations that your knowledge and experience has prepared you to offer. Management is counting on you to provide this. That is the measure of your importance.
Consider the police officer making an arrest. Their job is to gather information (clues) and apprehend a suspect based on those clues. But then someone else is responsible to prosecute that suspect, using the information gathered by the police. Or for various reasons they could decide not to prosecute. It's their decision.
But we're still human, and it can rankle. Often we'll find that our ego is in full bloom once we make a recommendation - as if anyone who disagrees with us doesn't respect us or value our opinion. That they don't love us anymore.
Get over it. Shake it off. Because they'll be another issue tomorrow. And you can be a hero then.
Chuck Csizmar CCP is founder and Principal of CMC Compensation Group, providing global compensation consulting services to a wide variety of industries and non-profit organizations. He is also associated with several HR Consulting firms as a contributing consultant. Chuck is a broad based subject matter expert with a specialty in international and expatriate compensation. He lives in Central Florida (near The Mouse) and enjoys growing fruit and managing (?) a clowder of cats.
Creative Commons image, "Advice," by Solo