Does your office have undercurrents?
Dark Side for Employees / April 15, 2016

  It can be hard to imagine that your work place has undercurrents, especially since, as I say, they are not well recognized by even the most astute office politicians. Undercurrents quiz To identify if your company does, answer the following questions: Who is influential/who gets listened to? The person with the best argument, however expressed The one whose words fit the latest strategy  Whoever shouts loudest or longest? Who gets promoted? The one who: Has the right skills and aptitudes Is one of our kind Plays golf /racket ball or drinks with the right people? How is dissent handled? Acknowledged even from nut cases. Debated. Politely listened to and then ignored Shouted down Ridiculed Listened to only from well-respected people Which is true of your company? I can say the unpopular without being ridiculed or punished It’s better to have an iffy decision than piss people off by insisting on the right one I avoid telling my boss how things really are Unless you have picked the first option for every question, you have undercurrents. And frankly, if you didn’t, I’d have trouble believing you. All organizations have them, some tow more than others, some are more underground, but…

What are the Undercurrents of the Dark Side?
Dark Side for Employees / April 15, 2016

  Last time I gave an example of a group meeting where you wanted to vote ‘no.’ But despite this and having promised a colleague Thomas to do so, you voted ‘yes’. Why did you do it? Thomas would say you chickened out. The others in the group might assume you saw the strength of their arguments. At the time, you thought it was about fear of repercussions and that the larger group had a point. Anyhow, your ‘no’ vote wouldn’t have made any difference to the outcome. While all these explanations are possible, I think there are deeper reasons. Organizational undercurrents I think you were caught up in an organizational undercurrent. Organizational undercurrents are persisting, behavior-shaping systems which operate under the radar of most people but nevertheless have a compelling influence on what and how work gets done. They can force you to do things opposite to your intention (as you did in the previous example) can have even more devastating consequences than the relatively trivial example I used. What are organizational undercurrents? There are many undercurrents but in the blog, I’ll deal in detail with five: Power. Power is the currency and driver of the company, but its…

The Dark Side of Work Revealed
Dark Side for Employees / April 15, 2016

The Dark Side of Work Revealed As I mentioned in the Introduction to the Dark Side, work places have undercurrents which are never spoken of but which determine whether you are successful or how far you go. But these undercurrents are difficult to pick up, so to illustrate, here’s a work scenario to show you how they operate. Deciding holiday schedules The deal Your manager wants to discuss holiday scheduling. Thomas comes to your cubicle. Thomas: This meeting at 2:00. I think Susie and the others are gonna snow us. YOU: Huh? Thomas: Because we’re the only two without partners— although I’m working it. Anyhow, Susie’ll suggest we do the Christmas to New Year shift. YOU: But I wanted to ski! Thomas: Exactly. We need time off even if we’re single. So, you’ll support me? YOU: Absolutely. The meeting Note: Ned is the boss, everyone else works for him. Ned: Okay, guys, who will staff December 26-31? Susie: Christmas is a family thing. I need to be with my kids. Thomas: You’re with them every day. Ned: Thomas, let Susie finish. Susie: And the kids are off so I have to be there. Edgar: Yeah, I want to spend time…