A culture of fear

That’s what we’ve got where I work. People are always trying to cover their backs and keep their heads down, to stay out of the line of sight. It’s not pleasant at the best of times. For me, I report directly into the ‘c-team’ so there’s no hiding for me. It makes me a little bit cautious when discussing things in a ‘public’ forum. This week I had the less than pleasant task of running a meeting at the request of my c-level boss. It was always going to contain frustrations, strong views and some frayed tempers, but I didn’t quite expect it to get personal the way it did.

With a number of people coming from far away, there was much discussion about improving communications, and getting things done in a more collaborative manner. That’s no issue at all. I think we would all welcome improvements across all of the team, no-one’s denying it. The difficulties arrived when during a heated discussion fingers were pointed at specific people, comments such as ‘you’re to blame’, ‘it’s your fault’ and ‘you should have done more’ were mentioned. It became very personal. Very. Trying to steer things in a neutral way didn’t help either – it seemed to escalate the level of frustration among the attendees.

There’s no denying the facts. Business isn’t what it once was. But it is just that – business. Don’t make it personal. Don’t point fingers. Yes, we have a culture of fear, but don’t try to score points on a personal level. You never know when it might backfire in your direction.

I believe in karma, do you?

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To blog or not to blog…

I wrote this a while ago…

 

All change…again

It’s been a turbulent year. I’ve decided that 2011 is turning into one of those years that we’ll need to either grab by the short and curlies or just forget. Which is it to be?

 

Work has dominated so far this year – predominantly the roller coaster ride that is my company. In October I got a new boss. It took the best part of six months to adjust to his up and down/hot & cold manner. He’s brash, he’s pushy, he’s demanding and more… But in the past few weeks I’ve come to understand just how much he’s fought for the team and to take away all of the road blocks that hamper the day to day running of the department.

 

It’s taken a lot of time for the team to get used to him and to start to buy into what he’s been trying to do, but they were getting there. It was starting to feel like we were achieving an awful lot in a short space of time.

 

And, we had a leader. Someone fighting for us at the highest level. In with the other big cheeses – fighting the politics and shouting about the things we need to get on with an achieve.

 

First, there was the ‘potential acquisition’ notification. Then, the CEO was let go. And, most recently my boss was let go. Ooooomph!

 

It was such a shock to us all. There were many unhappy people discussing how it would mean to them and what would happen next. Our ‘new CEO’ (our Chairman became the Exec Chairman) announced we would all report to sales management. Such a step in the wrong direction.

 

So, the roller coaster starts running even faster than it did before.

Next…?

Work is going from bad to worse at the moment. With questions over brand, CMS, ‘best-of-breed’ agencies and upheaval, it’s no surprise that morale has reached an all time low. We’ve had two resignations in the past week. Correction – I have had two resignations in the past week. Two of my longest serving (longest suffering) team members are stepping down from the role and from the company.

It’s clear they’ve both had enough of the constant change and upheaval and that both are looking for new challenges. It’s clear that everything is different already. But, what of the company? What will be done to rebuild? Anything? Everything? Nothing?

I shall miss my team – as it once was. These changes are as a result of decisions made back to February. Changes were set in motion at that point, and here we are. This week’s news is a direct result. My question (rhetorical): why am I still here? what is there for me? where does this mis-guided sense of loyalty come from? what’s next? will I ever find the elusive ‘work/life balance’? and, losing my team members…what’s next?

Answers on a postcard, please.