The Culture

(source: flickr.com via @_dchris)

Four months in and I’m getting the hang of the place. By hang, I mean I understand how things sort of work. And by work, I mean that each department does things differently because there are just no rules about what can and can’t be done. It’s the Wild West.

Since the money is still rolling in, this shoot first and ask questions later seems to be tolerated. Never mind that the company has culled a large proportion of its workforce in the last year. Never mind that there is little sense of team and that lunch hours are usually solo eating ventures. The place is still commercially viable despite its foibles.

I begin to think that this is the culture. Everything is down to the individual. Want to get things done? Do it your way. Just make sure that the margins are positive. There is no trust here. Everyone is in it for themselves and just be thankful that the boat isn’t sinking.

Then I read this about a letter sent by the CEO of Airbnb about keeping a company’s culture alive to sustain its future. If the company I work for is still making some money despite its appalling culture, is that such a bad thing?

Maybe I’m just in the wrong place, the wrong time but I have little faith here. Just like everyone else, I’m in it for me. I don’t trust in anyone doing the right thing and I’m just waiting for the right time to jump ship.


Dead Man Walking


With the noted staff reductions still to come, it’s evident that there are people that have been given some bad news. While there have been tears, there are others who have held their dignity and ploughed on with their work.

Those in the latter category seem to be in a good place emotionally; they’ve got jobs or other plans. I feel sorry for the ones who have struggled with the news. In particular, I know someone who is being targeted, with the sole intention of being pushed out of the business. This person has been pressured to work long hours and with no possible hope for success. During our hallway discussions, there is enormous pressure being mounted and the only dignified option is to leave.

The worst thing is that I’ve heard from other sources that the manager had been bragging about performance managing the employee out of the business. This is questionable ethics in times of great uncertainty and difficulty. One can only hope that actions like this have a sense of kismet about it.


Following The Right Leader


Finding true leaders in business is rare. By true leader, I mean the type of person that is not only incredibly intelligent/wise, but also honest, personable and savvy. What you see on the surface is exactly what you see if you peeled away the suit, the Blackberry and the corner office. Is this person the same in business meetings as in a family gathering? I’ve had a few managers in my time and I couldn’t pinpoint one who had it all. There was always a flaw that undermined everything. One was an amazing networker but completely untrustworthy. Another was scarily intelligent but couldn’t relate to human beings. A more recent one was amicable, a political animal and brilliant but you couldn’t always believe his level of commitment to you. He was made of teflon, making commitments and promises but nothing stuck.

Am I seeking too much? And can I ever fully complete myself so that I’m not perceived in the same way?


It All Starts at the Top

 Et tu, Brute?

To me, company leaders are a way of marking the history of an organization. They’re the corporate equivalent of  tree-rings. The survivors bear the scars of everything that has passed and has shaped them into the beings that they are now.

The leaders in my company have had years and years of experience in the industry. As much as this has helped them push the organization onto its high perch, I think that this has bred bad behavior amongst the staff but also shuttered them from anything really new.

I think of it this way, we are social creatures. We imitate those that seem to be doing well for themselves. In my company the mantra is, “As long as the job gets done, I don’t care how you do it.” In such a dog-eat-dog environment with no moral scruples, it’s no wonder that so many people are disenchanted.

I read this article about “infectious leadership” and thought about our guys at the top: