Kool Derby

A conversation with an employee who was playing the game…

Your employees come to work each day ready to do the assigned work. After the standard coffee break, and the half-hour used to surf the web, they start going through their Inboxes. It’s time to get going.

Most departmental meetings focus on the day-to-day requirements, and not on the big picture. In other words, the workers fail to understand how the work they do affects the bottom line of the entire organization.

Some might argue that employees should worry only about the work assigned to them, and the rest will take care of itself. Unfortunately, this position is shortsighted, and will stifle the organization’s growth.

The Conversation

I recently had a conversation with an employee working for GeoTel, a global telecommunications company. This company is expanding into South America, and it has a diverse workforce. From what I hear, it receives hundreds of applicants for its advertised positions.

Me: Hey, Mike! How’s it going?

Mike: I’m alright – just hanging in there.

Me: How’s everything at GeoTel?

Mike: I’m doing more work in Brazil now. I do what I have to do. It seems like I’m on the road most of the time. Basically, I go meet our customers in Sao Paulo every month or so, and pretty much tell them the same thing.

Me: What do you mean?

Mike: Well. I give them an update on the new technologies, our marketing campaign, and other routine stuff. In fact, I think a phone call or WebEx might serve the same purpose.

Me: I remember when you started at GeoTel … you were excited. You told me that you were planning to be there as long as possible. Right?

Mike: I guess. I don’t remember saying that, but I probably did. Look … we are pretty much told what to do, and that’s it. I know that management welcomes our opinions, but nothing is ever done. They listen, but do nothing about it.

Me: You mean that your opinion doesn’t really matter?

Mike: I guess, but there’s more to it. Look … the point here is that the more I know this job, the less I like it. I really don’t think we can compete in this market. Because we supposedly are committed to quality, we are late getting into the market. Our competitors have an inferior product, but they are already selling their stuff left-and-right.

Me: So … what are your plans?

Mike: The immediate plan is to book my ticket to Brazil by this Friday. The job market is a bit soft right now, so I’m not going to cause any waves. I will continue to play the “Yes-Man” game for the next year or so. I will do whatever possible to keep the paychecks coming. I think you get the picture that I’m not committed to this organization.

Me: Yeah – that is clear.

Mike: I guess I better run. I have to work on my Portuguese!

Most employees are enthusiastic when they first join the organization. They believe in the vision and are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. However, at some point, they hit a brick wall, and they begin to lose interest.

The management team must ensure the employees stay energized. This is done by seeking feedback from employees and implementing the viable suggestions. By doing so, the employees will have a better understanding of how their work affects the overall success of the enterprise.