Sept. 16, 2009
-- People always want to own a piece of success and never a piece of failure. This is especially true in organizations that place a premium on politicking. Many organizations that do not have a professional management but have a family or individual controlling the organization believe in the simple dictum of divide and rule. Often, we can see our colleagues, subordinates and of course bosses take credit for something that is deemed a success, something goes wrong and the weakest “suspect” would be hung from the nearest scaffold.
How does one handle this, especially because ones career can depend on how well one manoeuvres through the system? If one cannot beat the system, join it (as long as your moral values or conscience permits it). One has to be opportunistic, hedge correctly and be willing to beat the ‘suspect’ with all the force in your command. Such organizations invest very little in career counseling for its employees and are pure transactional with mass layoff when the economic environment deteriorates and mindless hiring when the going is good. Such organizations have little chance of survival over the medium or long term.
This tendency becomes especially evident when the organization is undergoing financial stress as a result of economic recession. Everyone is trying to survive in the corporate jungle and it is very rarely merit or one’s achievements that determine whether a person will be part of the corporate layoff. It depends to a great extent on how well the person is networked with the ultimate decision maker who picks out the people who need to be laid off. To say that the entire process is scientific would be a big lie. Rarely is the process scientific. Some obvious choices become clearly apparent but in many cases it just becomes a matter of chance, worse than a lottery, which determines the person who will have to ultimately leave the organization. It is all about networking and a lot of good luck!
Most people would not mind the team members who made a project successful claim credit. The challenge emerges when we have outsiders trespassing and usurping the real players who made that success possible. Such imposters lurk around in all organizations. Using the latest communication tools at their disposal like power point and e-mail, they make sure that they mark their scent in the nearest flagstaff, pretty much like the neighboring dog. Managers often find it difficult to separate the chaff from the grain because it involves a lot of hard work. The jungle takes over where the person with the loudest voice wins the race. It may not be just, but it is the law of the corporate circus, pretty much like the law of nature.