Monday, January 20, 2014

Reading between the lines - loud and clear!: The Art of Corporate Survival Part 3

Corporates pride themselves on being open, transparent, fair, egalitarian, democratic, driven, ethical and working towards all kinds of objectives which have no relation to making money or merely advancing individual agendas. The reality of course is far different. What they perceive themselves to be makes them speak in a particular way. Reality however makes us interpret it differently.

After working for many years in corporates, this what I understand when this what I hear:

What I hear: We encourage diversity
What I understand: Please come dressed the same, talk the same, walk the same, and we have made sure all your cubicles look the same.

What I hear: We encourage individual initiative
What I understand: We expect you to spend all your time on projects the Company considers important

What I hear: We are all for Work-Life balance. We endorse it fully
What I understand: Your Company is your Life. Now balance your Life and your Work.

What I hear: We encourage independent thinking
What I understand: The boss is always right

What I hear: You should follow your heart
What I understand: If your heart tells you to do what is in our Top 10 initiatives, it is in the right place

What I hear: We want you to be bold, courageous, independent and chart your own destiny
What I understand: How come this plan is not feeding exactly into what H.O. wants? By the way, the font you are using is not as per Company policy

What I hear: We want you to give full expression to your creativity, and we want you to speak your mind
What I understand: Please ensure you adhere to our 'political correctness policy', 'no mention of politics, sex or religion policy', 'no offending any race, group or religion policy', and get your presentation cleared by the Communications Department before you send it out

What I hear: We want to give every individual the means to advance in their career
What I understand: In our Company, career ladders go vertically, horizontally, laterally and randomly. HR will prove that you have advanced in your career path. Congratulations on your advancement!

What I hear: We want you to think freely, innovate
What I understand: Please contribute at least two ideas by next week. You have not met your innovation targets

What I hear: We work for the Stakeholders
What I understand: They hold the Stakes - they can nail you to the Cross

What I hear: We work for the Stakeholders
What I understand: Look, this is what MY boss wants. And you report to me. So get it done!

What I hear: We allow you to pursue your heart's desires
What I understand: Provided it aligns with Company priorities

What I hear: The Company will take care of your family
What I understand: You are so busy taking care of the Company that you won't have the time to do it. We will send the cheque home

What I hear: We believe in always being connected
What I understand: Why the *&!*!& was your phone switched off last night?!

What I hear: You can follow whatever religion you want
What I understand: Do you know by heart the Company's Vision statement, Mission statement, and key catechisms? Can you recite the Gods in the Company's pantheon? What have you done to appease them yesterday? Can you tell me the favorite offerings that each God likes? 

What I hear: The Customer is king
What I understand: Find out what the muppets want

What I hear: Scrapping this project will help us better align with our stakeholders
What I understand: That's what you said last year when you introduced the project

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