terça-feira, 25 de janeiro de 2011

Toxic Companies - Take 4

«Who did this mess?»


Very common in toxic workplaces. Shouting is an excellent strategy to keep your power position. The assertion of power is determined by the noise you make. Who makes the most noise is the most powerful. «IT'S ALWAYS THE SAME...»; «DO I MUST SAY IT AGAIN?» «WHO DID THIS MESS?»; «THAT TEXT, CAN I HAVE IT AT ONCE?».

When I remember these shouted phrases I heard so many times in companies I worked for, many times I do remember too that old story of the father who walks through the countryside with his son, and suddenly asks him:

- Son, what noise is this we heard in the distance?
- It's a cart, dad.
- Very good. And the cart is filled or empty?
- It is filled, dad, is filled.
- Why do you say that, son?
- Because it makes too much noise, dad...
- No, son, is an empty cart.
- How do you know that the cart is empty, if you don't see it?
- Son, the cart is empty because of the noise. The more empty the cart, the higher the noise it makes.

The boy became an adult and hasn't forgotten this episode. And now, when he sees someone talking too much, screaming, with arrogance or / and interrupting everybody, as a requirement of reason, he remembers: «The more empty the cart, the more noise it makes...»

So, the idea of chaos is always grateful to whom want to maintain the power, or the idea of power. Yelling seems a great solution, and calling attention to others. If you add up abrupt ramblings, nervous gestures and hard expressions, it is created an atmosphere of fear, horror, humiliation and submission.
People stand still, people retain all their knowledge and who loses?...
Ultimately, the company.

Creativity and innovation are incompatible with this atmosphere. As well as excellent performance. I worked in several companies in which the «yelling culture» prevailed. Some of them are stuck. Some were sold, others simply disappeared.