How to deal with internal work being credited to someone else

project management
New answer on Jan 25, 2023
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 24, 2023

For context, I started in my respective position not too long ago. I have been on the bench for sometime (our team is barely getting any projects). So I wanted to build something useful in my time. 
 

I saw that another department had a yearly thought leadership report on an industry that’s relevant to my team. So I thought it would be a good business development activity to build something similar with our touch. I thought it would help us be in touch with the market and possible projects. 
 

I spoke to my PM about it including another manager, and directors in conversations telling them I had such and such idea. It wasn’t a priority then because it wasn’t chargeable work obviously and I didn’t want to put it over things I was assigned internally. Nevertheless, I did put some research together and a an outline for the report, what it could contain etc. 

Now a little time has elapsed and we’re getting more desperate for projects. Not a week after the last conversation regarding this report, seniors put another associate (has time over me) as a lead on this project and the manager is proposing ideas that I told them word for word regarding the report.

I feel upset as I think I should have taken lead. I wanted to do so because I’ve had almost no chargeable work and I want to prove myself in any way before probation ends. I am also the most knowledgeable on the topic being researched by far within juniors given I was the only person to have meaningful experience in that area. 
 

I hope I’m not rambling and was wondering how i should approach this situation and what I can do to learn for next time. I think I could have done better taking ownership of it more strongly but I didn’t feel it was my position to do so and take people away from things they are assigned to. 
 

and in general how can I make best of my situation where I am not getting to be on projects? 

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Nicolas
Expert
replied on Jan 25, 2023
Sr Director Strategy | BCG Canada & Official Recruiter | 8y+ coaching | INSEAD MBA | 300+ interviews - Tailored coaching

Hello, 

This is unfortunate and never pleasant - sorry to hear that. Unfortunately it is something that might often happen (for work related projects or extras). Also if you are someone quite humble, it is difficult to get how to share what you are doing (to get some credit) without being the person who is sharing anything they do. 

Also it is good to keep in mind that even if some other senior leaders decided to take the topic to someone else, your manager will still know you came up with the idea. 

To avoid this I would recommend: 

- Before or after discussion with your manager, sending the ideas / a recap / etc by email => you create a trail and proofs

- In your evaluation assessment, you should mention that you initiated this research / assessment (even if not completed all of it) => That will get you some credit and help show your contributions

- Usually it is a good thing to Start doing something and then involve others to help build but it has already been started by you. => Easier to ask forgiveness than permission | if you started people cannot argue with it vs just sharing Ideas

Best of success! Cheers

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Pedro
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replied on Jan 25, 2023
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

This happens the whole time. Now, it is not true that your work is being credited to someone else. They know it was your idea - they just felt the task required someone more experienced. 

Since you were on bench, it would make sense to have you involved, but not necessarily lead. You should ask to be involved, under the direction of the other consultant, given that you've already done some research, are knowledgeable about the topic, and seem to have available time for that.

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Ian
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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jan 25, 2023
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

It's certainly normal be upset and frustrated about this. You have valid concerns and it is understandable that you would want to prove yourself and take ownership of a project.

That said, the main solution is to suck it up! (sorry). It's  important to understand that sometimes things don't go as planned.

It's also important to understand there's a world where this isn't your fault…perhaps you just have bad managers/leadership and need to “survive” here until you can find a better manager/boss.

Moving forward, always get things in writing. Make sure to followup via email “summrizing” the discussion.

In general, you can make the best of this current situation by staying proactive and taking initiative. Look for opportunities to develop your skills and knowledge, and to contribute to the team in any way you can. Seek out mentorship and guidance from more senior members of your team, and look for opportunities to work on internal projects or initiatives that can help you gain visibility and build your reputation within the company.

 

(edited)

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Florian
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Content Creator
replied on Jan 25, 2023
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hi there,

I think this is not an uncommon situation to be in, especially in your more junior years in consulting.

At the end of the day, it comes down to increasing your visibility in your firm/team. How can you do that?

  • Proactively ask for work
  • Discuss your development goals with every member of your team
  • Put partners on CC on important problem-solving emails/ask them for their input on your initiatives early on (double effect: you can refine your content early on + are visible)
  • Increase the amount of content you produce
  • Speak up in team meetings → don't be shy to present your ideas or counter someone else's

All the best for your future. It's a tough time at the moment across all firms with many consultants sitting on the bench…

Cheers,

Florian

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Hagen
Expert
replied on Jan 25, 2023
Bain Project Leader and interviewer for 7+ years | >95% success rate | mentor and coach for 6+ years

Hi there,

First of all, I am sorry to hear about this bad experience!

I think this is an interesting question that may be relevant for many people. I would be happy to share my thoughts on it:

  • Whether or not to accept the situation is ultimately up to you, but it's important to remember that in any workplace, credit and recognition are not always given fairly or consistently. While it can be frustrating to have work that you've done be credited to someone else, it's important to remember that this is a common experience in the workplace.
  • In terms of learning from this experience, it's important to remember that in the future, it's best to have conversations like this in writing or at least follow up in writing to make sure that everyone knows and there is a proof for who came up with what idea. This can help to ensure that your contributions are recognized and that you are given credit for the work that you've done.
  • In terms of making the best of your situation, you can continue to take initiative and build your skills in areas that are relevant to your team's work. You can also seek out opportunities to work on internal projects or initiatives, and network with other consultants to learn about potential projects and opportunities.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to address your specific situation, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Nicolas gave the best answer

Nicolas

Sr Director Strategy | BCG Canada & Official Recruiter | 8y+ coaching | INSEAD MBA | 300+ interviews - Tailored coaching
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