Large organizations have their own personality. It’s almost like they are alive. The personality which shows through is generally the sum total of everyone working there. It can be nothing else. The tone is set from the top. There are no two ways about it. If the senior management tolerates a certain culture, it will go on.
Working for large organizations – tough
I had a few bosses that were, shall we say, a little hard to deal with. They were very demanding and in some cases, abusive. Unfortunately, if you are in an organization that tolerates this behavior there is not much that you can do. You can either quit or hope that your boss moves on. It’s a function of how much pain you can tolerate and what the labor market is like. If you can leave, the question is what are you leaving behind.
I am often reminded of this scene from the movie Glengarry, Glen Ross. Unfortunately, there is some truth in this scene. Many that watch this clip think that it’s fiction. Unfortunately, it’s not. I have been in similar situations where senior employees were bullied.
In one instance we there was a sales board put up on the wall. Each of us was listed there and our sales performance against target noted. We called it the “wall of shame” or the “wall of blame”. It was a tool allegedly used to encourage performance by making everyone aware of where they stood. The reality was that the board was intended as an intimidation tool, but it was. No one got fired, but a low ranking would certainly result in you’re getting a pretty small bonus. The bonus part of our compensation was significant. Knowing where you stood, put on a lot of pressure on each of us to perform better if you weren’t at the top.
A beauty contest
Working for large organizations is a bit of a beauty contest. As I mentioned before, you can have the greatest year ever, but if nobody cares then you’re screwed. It becomes just a side notes on what’s going in the business. When I was fired from one of my jobs, I was let go because I didn’t fit. Now if someone can explain to me what that means, that would be great! As someone once said, you’ll often find yourself working for a boss who has half your brains and gets paid twice as much as you. So there is the “beauty contest” part of this.
A beauty contest in this context is any contest, election, etc., where the winner is the most popular one. Getting a bonus or a promotion in a slow growing corporate environment has beauty contest component. So getting the inside track is important even when you’re looking at a boss like Alec Baldwin in this movie scene.