Saturday, October 8, 2011

Artistic Balance

When you walk into a place and grab its culture by its cajones you affect a wide range of lives, yet you ultimately live alone with the mental and emotional consequences of your actions. No matter what you change, some folks face the risk of falling out from the short side of the equation. They may have to learn to accept new job responsibilities, or they may even be made redundant by your changes.

Clearly however /somebody/ has a chance to reap benefits from your efforts (besides yourself). The changes that you can actually successfully materialize therefore depend upon how you manage the delicate balance between interest groups. I'll examine how to achieve this in later posts, but first let's look deeper at the power dynamics of employment across all of the interested parties.

Every business exists to serve four groups of people: the owners of the place, the employees, the customers, and society-at-large. Without the support of even one of these components a business gradually disintegrates. Depending on the nature of the business these broad categories may sometimes be further refined to include subsets or agents, such as unions, neighborhoods, tax authorities, shareholders, et cetera.

For the purposes of general interest groups though these independent categories suffice. As an analyst and change promoter you need to consider how the group balance and its dynamics may be affected by your activities.

In the next couple posts I'll examine the interplay between these categories by pair groupings. Before we pair off though let's spin briefly about the seriousness, feigned flexibility, polarization, and positioning of these sides. Although I will discuss them in general as if they are two competing teams on a football gridiron of the corporate battle, in reality they are composed of groups of individuals who are, after all, just people.

They eat breakfast, they have families, they have health and financial issues. They have tastes in food and music, and their lives have had their own joys, curiosities, and sorrows.

When you are negotiating a position between two groups, always remember first and foremost that you are dealing with a collection of individuals. Strive for a general utility for the entire group, but also recognize that even within a single category, say the managers, you will find differences of opinions toward your actions.