Tag Archives: Corporate

Why Google Works….and why some companies just don’t quite get there.

We all know Google, the information/technology mega-juggernaut that has quite effectively changed the world and the way that we all look at our always useful friend “The Internet”. Google has brought us more in touch with so much useful information, in fun and interesting ways…so much so, that Google has become an actual unofficial “verb” in our everyday language. But why is Google so darn successful when other technology companies might fail? It’s not like other companies don’t have access to the same hardware, or that Google has a monopoly on the use of technology. It’s not as if Google has sole access to elite marketing firms. So why is Google so successful? I’ll tell you why……the people, and Google’s approach toward them.
images (8)People……not the product. Of course the product is important, but a company that understands that when you hire the best talent and let them do what they know best, they will produce the best quality products and services, and will usually continue to do so without argument. When management creates an air of fun, and community at work that ‘employees’ can look forward to on a daily basis…..they will enjoy coming to work, and not dread it. When your people know that your company is as invested in them as much as you what them to be invested in the company, they will go above and beyond to create the best products possible. Micromanagement just doesn’t seem to work anymore, people are too interconnected, to well-informed, and often just aren’t willing to have someone looking over their shoulder (no one really wants that, do we?).
Making your people feel ‘indispensable’ (even if both you and they know they actually are Indispensable-300x214not) gives them the incentive to be ‘creative’, to do great things, to make sure to create bigger and better products that they are proud of! This will create an inherent ‘investment’ in the success of the company, not just ‘worry’ about the success of the individual.
So……let them do what they are best at, let them play! Successful organizations, especially the new ‘up and comers’, understand that people who enjoy what they are doing and the environment in which they are doing it, will do their job better! Long since past are the days when you could insist that an employee do any job, micromanage the heck out of them, and get a quality product. Technology has advanced too far, and products are too sophisticated to get quality from just anyone.
People often work best in a relaxed environment (especially in Tech Corporations), where they can be creative on their own terms, and not having to watch their backs all the time to see who is looking over their shoulders. Team work is about utilizing each others best skills, combining them with others to achieve optimal results……allowing creativity to flow, occasionally hitting some rough patches or stoppages, but eventually reaching their end goal. Google and other tech companies seem to understand this.
It is important to trust your employees to do their jobs, people like being trusted, it empowers and energizes them and gets them excited about coming to work. The more that people feel ‘they’ did a great job, in their own creative way, the more they will feel invested in the product and the company…..very often their creative potential skyrockets as a result. Of course, there are those rare individuals who will take advantage of this level of freedom and just ‘slack off’, this is where the role of the Manager or Supervisor comes in, and you need to get them back on track.

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Why are Google’s people so successful (and therefore the company)?
Comfort – No, I am not talking about the average Google programmer’s office chair. indexWhat I am talking about is that Google has taken the ‘worry’ out of the equation. Google has generated an environment of security. Knowing that everything you will need to do your job as efficiently as possible is an extremely comfortable feeling. Technology companies today have taken on the correct attitude that when you have little to worry about, and feel safe with where you are working that frees you up to focus on the job and not all the other stuff.
Teamwork – The fact that Google only hires the best and the brightest gives its staff a tremendous collection of resources to work with! And, generally smart people find a way to work well with smart people. Of course I am sure there are creative disagreements, but this is usually the best method of developing superior products. And, the fact that Google is sooooo selective means that they can find people who will fit in to their dynamic environment.
Investment in the corporate team…..it isn’t always about the individual’s ability to achieve, it is about the ability of the corporation to achieve. Google’s people seem to be on a mission to make the best product possible because they believe in the corporation’s goals, an investment in the company means ‘Team First’, and that leads to complete success.
You Have My Back, I’ll Have Yours – When a company makes its employees feel climbing-mountain-012supported and important, nine times out of ten those employees will bend over backward to make sure that the company is successful! Trust is ‘key’ when it comes to an organization being a tremendous success. Hiring the right people, and then trusting them to do their jobs with a sense of maturity and fun results in a multitude of benefits. Being in a leadership position isn’t always about telling people ‘what to do’ and ‘how to do it’ (this does not inspire trust in you or your employee), it is about guiding your people toward the company’s ultimate goal, and backing them up when they need it but allowing them to figure out new ways of innovating and producing (this inspires trust all the way around).

As Multi-Billionaire Sir Richard Branson once said “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”. A mantra (one of many) that has followed him throughout his incredibly successful career. Valued employees don’t want to be told ‘what to do’, they want to be allowed to do what they know how to do (that is why you hired them, for their expertise). They want to be guided in the direction that the company needs them to propel the organization, to be successful so they can make the company successful. They want to know they have the resources necessary to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities, in a place where they can enjoy doing it.

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Three Reasons Why You Need To Color Outside The Lines

Remember when you were a kid and you had your box of zillion count crayons and you spent hours coloring in your others_rainbow_crayons-0411coloring books, but you never really wanted to color outside the big bold outlines? Well, we are all big boys and girls now, and it is more important than ever that we try and leave those lines behind and try some new things.

For centuries some of the most influential people have been coloring outside the lines (Plato, Galileo, Lincoln, Einstein…). However it is more important than ever to make this change in our behavior. Where as a great many people may think that the reason to be different is to just make yourself more ‘interesting’, corporations are looking for this behavior for much deeper reasons.

  1. Innovation – When you ‘color outside the lines’ your thoughts might stray a bit, and that can be a good thing. You want to expand on current ideas, and stretch yourself a bit (ok, sometimes more than a bit). New ideas don’t occur in a vacuum, they often happen when someone sees another individual’s ideas and expands on them. If you just keep creating the same old colors, within the same old lines…..your just going to keep having the same old ideas, and keep turning out the same old stuff.
  2. Humility – It says a lot about a person when they are willing to leave there comfort zone and try coloring something new, and possibly in a completely new shape (and heaven forbid coloring in someone else’s coloring book). When you are willing to say that something else might be better for my company than what I am already doing, that I might be holding my company back by maintaining the status quo, and that I am willing to go somewhere new to make it better, that says that you are willing to put the team ahead of yourself. Some of the most successful organizations on the planet (Google, Apple, and Amazon) strive to find humble people who see the team as being a more important commodity than oneself.
  3. Teamwork – People like working with people who have different ideas and skills, it makes life more interesting, doesn’t it? Beyond keeping life from getting boring, people who ‘color outside the lines’ also generally contribute a lot more to the broader picture……a LOT MORE! The individuals who bring unique ideas and skills become an asset and strength for the group, because in order for the team to survive in a hostile environment, it must embrace change, this doesn’t happen without leaving the lines. Sure, it might seem counter-intuitive, but squiggling outside the lines adds a feeling of security to the team too….people like knowing that something new and interesting is going on within the company. Change is good, and people know it!

images (8)Of course there are many other reasons why you would want to be your own person, and do things in a unique way. But these reasons seem to hold the most value for corporations these days. Organizations are looking for interesting people who are individuals who know when to put the ‘team’ first, not just be concerned with themselves and how things benefit him or her.

The corporate mindset of doing the same thing because it’s comfortable may work in the short-term, however since things in the world of business are constantly changing these are not the kind of people they need for survival in the long-term.

Change is good!

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Filed under Behavior, Behavioral Psychology, Creativity, Interaction, Leadership, Motivation, Organizational Psychology, Team Building

Corporate Psychopaths – Creators of Mayhem in Business

man-behind-mask-150x227       When most people hear the term ‘psychopath’ they usually think of someone who is hostile or violent, a person who is out to do them physical harm. This assumption is not exactly accurate; a psychopath, by definition is, Psychopaths are those one per cent of the population who have no conscience and who, therefore, demonstrate an egotistic and ruthless approach to living (Mathieu, Neumann, Babiak, & Hare, 2014). It is a lack of personal control that creates these violent tendencies that we associate with them.

But who are these ‘Corporate Psychopaths’? These are the people who you really feel that you want to know at first, but then you regret being acquainted with later on. They are the people who are ego-centric without concern for others, or how their actions affect others (in either a positive of negative manner), and who are the people who appear to be charming and ‘smooth-talkers’, then eventually turn into manipulative, hostile bullies.

The damage these individuals can do to a team or corporation is considerable, teams would be especially vulnerable to their effects. The havoc created by the corporate (or successful) psychopath is explained by social learning theory, that we as human beings learn vicariously by observing others, especially by watching influential role models who are credible to the observer (Bandura, 1971). When a fellow employees observes that another (or possibly others) is treating others with disrespect, hostility, and rudeness, this tells him or her that this is appropriate conduct for the situation, this toxic behavior will be magnified and proliferated throughout the organization (Boddy, 2013).

So, how do you as a corporate leader or HR Professional avoid the problems that these Bullies of the Business World can cause?

  • Have an internal succession plan that is aware of its people’s abilities and motivations. When you have a group of people who work well together and who know their jobs, be aware of this and groom them into leadership roles, ratherleadership-thumb-590x590-16830 than risk letting a bully work his or her way into the corporate infrastructure (Lipman, 2013).
  • Make hiring decisions based on tangible evidence. Be sure not to be taken in by appearances or mannerisms, corporate psychopaths will use charm and force of personality to find their way into a position of influence. Although it is important that a person in a leadership position possess these qualities to a degree, it is also important that any potential employee be able to ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talk the talk’ (Lipman, 2013).
  • During the interview process try and take a look at the ethical and moral character of any candidate. It is important that members of a team or corporation ‘fit in together’ and have some level of agreement on ethics and corporate morality. Although this may be hard to catch, the corporate psychopath may give ‘glimmers’ of disagreement with the organizations views on how people and work should be treated (Lipman, 2013).

So, the big question on the table is, if your organization is ‘infected’ by these corporate bullies, and about 4% of Pressurecorporate management positions have been (How to protect yourself from a ‘successful’ psychopath , 2013), what can you do about it?

  • Engage in a good, productive relationship with your boss (or your boss’s boss). This is always a good idea no matter who is involved, but when you throw a bully into the mix, having a great relationship with the ‘higher ups’ will make recognizing the great things that you do that much easier for upper management.
  • Don’t get sucked into playing their game. Take the more mature, higher ground and recognize the behavior for what it is, a person making themselves bigger than they really are.
  • Document abusive or counterproductive behavior. This will allow you to back yourself up if something more dramatic occurs in the future, and it will allow you to recognize this behavior again if it occurs.
  • Develop a close-knit, supportive team of people around you. Again, this is a good idea no matter who is involved as this practice will assist in maintaining the kind of creative energy and behavior that an innovative team requires.

We all know that dealing with different personalities can be difficult, and in the workplace this can be especially problematic when you don’t get it right. When ‘corporate psychopaths’ crop up and start sucking the creative and innovative energies out of an organization, this becomes an issue that should be dealt with sooner rather than later.

Through maintaining awareness of the conduct of people in our organizations, and creating a vision-oriented ethical standard that everyone can get on board with, this makes it easier to recognize aberrant behavior before it can get out of control.

Bandura, A. (1971). Social Learning Theory. General Learning Press.

Boddy, C. R. (2013). Corporate Psychopaths, Conflict, Employee Affective Well-Being and Countterproductive Work Behaviour. Journal of Business Ethics, 108.

Dictionary.com, LLC. (2014). Psychopath. Retrieved 10 16, 2014, from Dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/psychopath

How to protect yourself from a ‘successful’ psychopath . (2013, 7 13). Retrieved 10 19, 2014, from New.com.au: http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/is-there-a-psychopath-in-the-cubicle-next-door/story-e6frfm9r-1226688173318

Lipman, V. (2013, 4 25). The Disturbing Link Between Psychopathy And Leadership. Retrieved 10 16, 2014, from Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2013/04/25/the-disturbing-link-between-psychopathy-and-leadership/

Mathieu, C., Neumann, C., Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2014). A Dark Side of Leadership: Corporate psychopathy and its influence on employee well-being and job satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences.

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Filed under Behavior, Leadership, Organizational Psychology, Psychology, Team Building