Monday, February 20, 2012

Corporate Culture That is Healthy as a (Trojan) Horse

How would you answer if you were asked to describe what its like to work at your company? I don’t mean the over-produced and scrubbed official message, I’m talking about how you truly feel. If you added a significant change into your corporate world does that change your answer? Do your colleagues behave the same way when big changes are on the horizon? Hmmm…what would you say or do differently under those circumstances?

Leaders Make Choices
As a Human Resources practitioner I’ve learned to appreciate human nature more and more. Why? The answer is simple => people behave in such bizarre ways when they are under pressure...or reacting to change...or even trying to position themselves for a sneak attack power grab. HR has, I believe, an obligation to maintain balance and calm during these stormy times. That means speaking our minds, not getting caught up in the power trip mentality and making sure above all else that the needs of the organization and its employees remain front and center.

"Once the conversation is only about power, the organization loses."

That means the people lose. Oh, and let’s not forget that its those same people that we expect to work hard, remain loyal, execute our strategies, and understand when difficult decisions have to be made.

Power or Results: Which One is Better?
This is a trickier question than you might think. Obviously adopting a lust-for-power leadership style is not only ineffective, but is also embarrassingly transparent. However, if the right leaders do not have the appropriate level of power (read here => authority); good results will not follow. That’s the dilemma…making sure the right people have the authority to move the organization forward and also ensuring the power-grab doesn’t happen.

How About You
When you’ve seen others convince themselves they needed to focus on power instead of the organization what have you done? Remained silent, or spoken up, or.....? It can be a dangerous time for many people, but surprisingly its most damaging to the one hiding inside that big horse waiting to jump out and yell surprise.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of keiththompsonart


  1. I have just left a place where the CEO was headhunted from a french competitor into this, his first CEO role. Perhaps it was the 'loneliness' of this transition but the new CEO hired in his colleagues from his last company. There is now a very strong power hub at the top (all french speaking too). With a zero order intake of business, the power seemed to increase proportionally with the distancing from the other execs and the rest of the population. It is now like a well guarded island and the defences will just get higher and higher until the board pulls the plug. Then what? A lot of damage to tidy up. It is so important for boards and parent companies to watch out for these 'power' signs and deal with them early.

    1. Thanks for your insights John. It sounds like that organization is going to struggle for some time. As you said, the end result is a lot of damage to fix. Appreciate your comment!

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