Stop Working So Hard

In every single organization I’ve ever worked for, read about or talked to people who worked in, sooner or later, everybody can cite at least one person who is rowing in the opposite direction that the company is heading in. These people may be doing so in small ways or otherwise; some actually going to great lengths to resist the overall movement and sabotage growth.

All this energy, both mental and physical is hard to understand. After all, when someone joins an organization, they are almost always given orientations including mission, vision and goal statements. Managers will at formal yearly appraisals review an employees goals for the coming year, both organizational and personal. The point to all this commitment by an organization is to ensure that all of the employees know the core beliefs and mission that bind and brand the company.

And yet, despite all of the above, workers will make comments out of the side of their mouths like, “Yeah whatever, I’m not doing that.” This comment, and others like it, will usually be manifested in some people blatantly ignoring directives and doing what they themselves think is best or what they personally believe.

Now this kind of behaviour breeds division. First and foremost, those employees are now isolating themselves from the majority, and doing so consciously. Secondary impact is felt by the clients, customers or guests of an organization that receive service that is not reflective of the overall company and what they have publicized. This rouge behaviour means that customers don’t experience the advertised promise and receive inferior or unadvertised products and / or services. They in turn, share these experiences with their friends and a disconnect occurs between the message sent and the delivery experience.

Of course the other significant problem is that if you yourself know of someone who is pulling in another direction or are unlucky enough to have daily interaction with such a person, you may feel constant unrelenting stress from this proximity and the challenge to keep focused on what you know to be the proper behaviour and actions vs. those of the person you have as an office mate, team member etc. Not many people enjoy conflict and confrontation, and so while some might point out the inconsistent behaviour with that which is desired by the company heads, others may not have the courage to bring up the subject. Why? Well if it goes badly, you’ve got a future of working with that person to look forward to and it could get uncomfortable.

Don’t you just wish that those who were constantly fighting the direction of an organization would just stop working so hard to foul things up and get on board? You know in the very old days, a crew would just toss the offender off the ship and be done with things. After all, if the person was getting up in the night and pulling the rudder off 90 degrees so the whole days rowing was for not, he wouldn’t be all that popular sitting next to you would he, as your biceps ached from the additional strain.

When people all pull in the same direction however, much can be accomplished. Tasks get distributed with confidence and when working on projects everyone can trust everyone else to come prepared having done their share. If you are in an organization where you are providing advice to people and so are your co-workers, you sure would be expecting that the advice you were passing along was supported if not indeed encouraged by others. How frustrated would you feel to have much of the message you’ve passed along to be intentionally – not unintentionally – subverted? Fairly ticked I’d say.

So if you are reading this post, placed on your keyboard, devoid of fingerprints and on a blank piece of white nondescript paperstock, maybe someone is trying to get you on board without direct confrontation. So should you crumple this into a ball and chuck it or slip it with confidence into a shredder? Or, would it be such a bad thing to actually think about making a change and expending less energy on what pulls you away from the organization and your peers and actually work smarter to work towards shared goals and initiatives?

Your call.


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