Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Corporate Culture

Is it even possible to build a good one and make it last?

Every culture I've worked at has suffered from the same exact problems, just to greater or lesser degrees:
  • Co-workers who make themselves feel better by screwing with you.
  • Co-workers who aren't really that good at their jobs, which makes your job harder because they're always in the way of your success.
  • Departments that are so focused on their own objectives/needs/issues that they can't really understand the "big picture" of the rest of the company. It just adds up as a mad scramble for resources, with everybody playing a game of "I've got mine, now piss off"
  • Executives who lack real business acumen and so end up getting in the way of the company's success. Often related to the item directly above.
  • Senior managers/employees with a sense of entitlement because they're "senior" and who expect everyone to bend over backward for their every need, regardless of whether it's legitimate or whether the time/money/energy would be more effectively spent elsewhere.
  • Junior employees who don't feel any investment in the company as a whole, and so do little or nothing outside the narrow scope of their day-to-day activities to help improve the larger organization.
  • An often massive disparity, at least in some departments, between the volume of work that needs to be done and the staff available to do it, resulting in long-term overtime, burnout, inefficiency and low job satisfaction (because you can see that no matter how hard you work, you can't possibly get even all of the really important stuff done, much less the moderately important stuff or the "get ahead" stuff that would make you more efficient in the future).

And that's just a short list. I could go on. What I don't know is, assuming I were to run a company of my own (which I have no plans nor intention of doing anytime soon), how do you prevent the kinds of problems listed above? They seem so prevalent that I have to wonder if they're just human nature. Yet they're so debilitating to any company's success that it seems like defeating them would produce huge returns for the business.

I may have to research this and write a book about it at some point

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