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That Guy’s Tips for Corporate Success, #12 December 23, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Tips for Corporate Success.
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When you implement something intended to build morale, you don’t tell the peons that you’re implmeneting something to build morale.

At a meeting yesterday, one of the VPs unveiled her new strategy for getting everyone interested in working directly on our end-user product. Our industry is experiencing major difficulties. Our company is laying people off and, in some states, cutting pay as well. So this is her plan to make everyone happy about working here.

CC-licensed photo by Flickr user Northeast Indiana

CC-licensed photo by Flickr user Northeast Indiana

It’s not a bad plan, either.

But toward the end of the meeting, she said, “…and this will help build morale.”

I didn’t facepalm, but I really, really wanted to.

A good percentage of our employees have no idea what goes into making the end-user product. Most of them work in sales or content creation. Some work in finance and marketing. But I’d say fewer than 25% of the people in this building can tell you the entire life-cycle of one of our products, from start to finish, without making at least three glaring errors based upon erroneous assumptions. I’m one of few people here who is involved in the entire life-cycle, start to finish, and that means I do know.

The people who don’t know are the ones who are demoralized. Despite being demoralized, though, they’re not stupid*. When you tell them you’re implementing a new strategy to improve morale, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. If the employees know what you’re doing, they’ll be on the lookout for ways to undermine your efforts.

I didn’t catch a look of “shouldn’t have said that!” when my head snapped up** upon hearing her say it, but I bet that she didn’t say it in the 3:30pm meeting.

Don’t tell the peons what you’re doing. Especially when you’re doing that. It wastes everyone’s time when it fails miserably. Then I get stuck being part of having to do it all again the next time.

* Some of them are. Not all of them, but at least… oh, I’d say 10%, to be fair.

** I wasn’t paying attention. I’d been part of the first set of meetings on this, and had quickly realized that it was exactly the same things being said to a larger audience. So I tuned out and started making notes that I could convert into articles for CorporateSpeak.

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