10 LIES ABOUT WORK/Lie Nr. 2 – People do care which company they work for.

If you care or you don’t care, it may result in a big difference in your work output.

First of all let me say it exactly how it is. Of course this is another big fat lie about work. The general truth is exactly the opposite = People DO NOT care for which company they work for. In fact, people in general don’t give a shit on that.

AUDI, BMW, TOYOTA, MICROSOFT, GOOGLE, FACEBOOK, DAIMLER, TESLA, NASA, APPLE, SAMSUNG, SONY, PANASONIC, LG, INTEL, HONDA, AIRBUS, SIEMENS, BOSCH, DASSAULT SYSTEMS,  EXXON MOBIL, CONTINENTAL, BOEING – just to name some of the most known and hunted companies worldwide  which people want to have a job at. Of course, the list of “wanted companies” is much longer but who cares so much?. Having a job in a place where you work because you “have to”, but not because you “want to”, then you are no different than the slaves from some centuries ago. You are in fact still a slave but a kind of optimized one for the modern times. Therefore most people are wired, they work 9a.m. to 5p.m. all their career. Some literally really die working.

In exceptional cases, it is also true that it may be challenging to work at such companies for a certain goal, but then means you know WHY you do what you do. If you succeed to make money from your job done by passion then yes, you may care a bit of one of those companies. You must have a goal and that goal must be beyond money. Money will surely come after, no doubt. I don’t want to extend it in this post but take the well known example of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. They both had a goal, they both knew WHY they do what they do. And the rest is history; those 2 guys created a huge impact on the human lifestyle on Earth. They both were dedicated and worked for passion. There is now not the case to say how much money did they make. So yes, If you know your WHY then yep, you could care. Unfortunately the majority of people don’t know their WHY.

Find it and work on it.

If I would ask all the people at those companies why do they work there, I am pretty sure that the majority of them won’t be able to give me solid arguments for that.  Most people work purely to have a kind of financial stability and eventually other benefits. That’s all. Nobody cares about the rest.

“We are a family”, “ All for one and one for all” “Together we change the world” “We make the best products for the everyone”, “The … (“company X”)  way”,  and all kind of such combination of slogans are  just empty words. Ooo…Just give me a break… as long as that company whatever that company could be, if it doesn’t have a strong strategy to create such a culture and valuate its people to simply inspire them to work for pleasure first and for money second, that company will not survive long or it will survive based on an continuous staff turnover which is the same boring thing. They will loose money anyway. People just come, they will work for a while and they will leave as soon as new opportunity arises. Companies are exactly like money. They come and go – I mean they have value one day but they can vanish the other day. Look at NOKIA. Do you know what I mean? :-), unfortunately they lost the battle forever. They will never return and compete against Samsung or Apple.

You can only truly care for which company you work for, if that company is entirely or almost entirely yours. Bill Gates cares about Microsoft (at least he did for very long time), Elon Musk cares for Tesla and Space X, Mark Zurckerberg cares for Facebook, Steve Jobs cared about Apple and so on. Of course those people cared, because they were in a good position in the company to do so, additionally they were passioned about it. But as I said, in general people don’t. On the contrary, nowadays it is quite common that people change their jobs at every 3 or 4 years. Some even earlier. So once again why should anybody care about the company they work for?. This the sad or maybe a good conclusion that I can draw during my years on the job market. Let me explain a bit more in details below.

Well… In that case, you could work for a while but you will resign sooner than expected.

From the outside looking in, it’s pretty hard to figure out what it might be like to work for a particular company. If you’re job hunting, you might start by searching online as many of us do – perhaps on Glassdoor.com or on one of the other job boards where employees can rate their current company – even on LinkedIn or Moster.com – or by talking to friends about where they’ve worked and what their experiences were. You might try to talk to a recruiter, although it’s tricky to do that if you’re not yet sure you’re going to apply. You might try to figure it out by reading the coverage of a company in the press, but this can be frustrating, since articles tend to focus more on a company’s products or its strategy, rather than on its culture per se. Wherever you look, you’ll find yourself wondering if what you’re discovering is really representative of the company, and is giving you a good sense of the inside story. In search of more objectivity and breadth, then, you might turn to Fortune magazine’s annual ranking of the 100 Best Companies to Work For.

If you are indeed looking for a job, you read Fortune’s list in search of insights about a given company. And you start asking your self the following:

  • What will your colleagues be like?
  •  How will they treat you?
  •  What will a typical day be like?
  •  Will your work be interesting, challenging, and valued?
  •  Is this a company that really cares for its people?

If you go through the long process of applying, and interviewing, and negotiating an offer, and ultimately landing a job there:

  • Will this be a company that puts as much into you and your career as you’re going to put into it?
  • What, precisely, is this list measuring about these companies?

Read the submissions, the press releases, and Fortune’s own descriptions of the winners, and the word you land on is culture.  

...And at Lunch is already having the VISION

Judging by these considerations, this thing called culture really matters. It is potentially more important than what the company does, how the company does it, how much the employees get paid, or even the company’s current stock price. Culture matters, according to the voluminous literature on the topic, because it has 3 powerful contributions to make.

CONTRIBUTION Nr. 1 = it tells you who you are at work. If you’re at Patagonia, you’d rather be surfing. You work in beautiful Oxnard, California, and your on-boarding consists of a day-long beach party where you are gifted the CEO’s autobiography – Let My People Go Surfing – and where your first meeting takes place around a campfire. If you’re at Goldman Sachs, then never mind the surfing – you’d rather be winning. You wear your bespoke suit every day because you’re a winner. It means something to say that you work for Deloitte, or for Apple, or for Audi, or for Tesla – and this meaning says something about you, something that locates you and differentiates you, that defines your tribe.

CONTRIBUTION Nr. 2 = culture has come to be how we choose to explain success. When Tesla’s stock was on the rise in the early part of 2017, it wasn’t because people were finally getting the electric cars they’ d paid deposits for a year earlier – they weren’t. Rather, it was because Elon Musk had created a culture of cool, a place where you couldn’t even see the cutting edge because it was so far behind you. When Toyota had to recall over six million vehicles, the direct cause was a problem with the shift – lever assembly, but the deeper explanation I arrived at was that it was a problem with their polite yet win-at-all costs culture.

  CONTRIBUTION Nr. 3 = culture is now a watchword for where we want our company to go: almost overnight, a big part of the job description of senior corporate leaders has become to create a specific sort of culture, a culture of “performance” perhaps, or a culture of “feedback” or a culture of “inclusion” or a culture of “innovation”; to shape the direction of the company they lead by infusing it with particular traits that govern how people behave. Beyond explaining the NOW, culture has become our handle on the NEXT.

If you have all that, then you are on the right path.

As a team leader you are going to be told, repeatedly, that you must take stock of all this because you are responsible for embodying your company’s culture, and for building a team that adheres to these cultural norms. You will be asked to select only applicants who fit the culture, to identify high-potentials by whether or not they embody the company culture, to run your meetings in a way that fits the culture, and, at company off-sites, to don the T-shirts and sing the songs.

All of which is fine, right up to the point where you start to wonder what, precisely, you are being held accountable for. Read the Fortune list again and you’ll be struck by the fact that a very small percentage of what’s written about your company is in your job description. Having an on-site day-care facility, giving all employees 20 percent of their time to pursue their own interests, offering large rewards for referring a new hire, and building solar panels on the roof are all admirable initiatives, yet none of them is within your control. They are commitments made by others – the executive committee or the board – and while you may think them worthy, and may indeed be proud that they are something your tribe contributes to the world, you can’t do anything about them. They are off in some other place, far from the day-to-day projects and deadlines, the ongoing actions and interactions, that actually comprise your world of work. When people ask you what it’s “really like” to work at your company, you immediately know you’re going to tell them not about the solar panels and the cafeteria, but about what it’s really like. So you’ll get real, and talk about:

  • how work is parceled out,
  • whether many managers play favorites,
  • how disputes get resolved,
  • whether the real meeting happens only after the formal meeting is over,
  • how people get promoted,
  • how territorial the teams are,
  • how large the power distance is between senior leaders and everyone else,
  • whether good news or bad news travels fastest,
  • how much recognition there is, and
  • whether performance or politics is most prized.

You’ll get down to the two-foot level of how work actually gets done, and try to tease out what your company truly feels like to the people on the ground. You won’t know whether to call this “culture” or not, just as you won’t necessarily know how to label each of these two-foot-level details, but in every fiber of your being you’ll know that this ground-level stuff is what will decide how hard people will work once they’ve joined, and how long they’ll stay. This ground-Level stuff is what THEY truly care about. Indeed, this ground-Level stuff is what YOU truly care about. In which case, your most pressing question, as a team leader, will be something like this:

If I am to help my team give their best, for as long as possible, which of these details are most critical? Tell me the most important ones, and I’ll do my level best to pay attention to those.

Therefore saying that “people do care which company they work for” it’s a lie, it sounds so odd to label it like that, since each of us does indeed feel some sort of connection to our company, but read on, and I think you’ll see that while what each of us truly cares about may begin as “company” it quickly morphs into something else rather different. So far during my professional career I have just noticed and I still keep noticing,  8 aspects of the employee experience that exist disproportionately on the highest-performing teams. These 8 aspects, and exactly these 8 precisely worded items, validly predict sustained team performance:

  1. I am really enthusiastic about the mission of my company.
  2. At work, I clearly understand what is expected of me.
  3. In my team, I am surrounded by people who share my values.
  4. I have the chance to use my strengths every day at work.
  5. My teammates have my back.
  6. I know I will be recognized for excellent work.
  7. I have great confidence in my company’s future.
  8. In my work, I am always challenged to grow.

You might notice a few things about these items right away. 1ST = the team members are not directly rating their team leader or their company on anything – they are rating only their own feelings and experiences. This is because people are horribly unreliable raters of other people. When we ask someone to rate someone else on an abstract quality such as “empathy” or “vision” or “strategic thinking”, their responses tell us more about the person doing the rating than the person being rated. To get good data we have to ask people about their own experiences.

2ND = you may also notice that the 8 items fall into two broad groupings. The first is the odd-numbered items:

  • 1. I am really enthusiastic about the mission of my company.
  • 3. In my team, I am surrounded by people who share my values.
  • 5. My teammates have my back.
  • 7. I have great confidence in my company’s future.

These deal with the elements of a “person’s experience” created in their back-and-forth interactions with others on the team-the communal experience of work, if you will. What do we all share, as a team or as a company?  We can think of these as the “Best of We” questions.

The second group comprises the even-numbered items:

  • 2. At work, I clearly understand what is expected of me.
  • 4. I have the chance to use my strengths every day at work.
  • 6. I know I will be recognized for excellent work.
  • 8. In my work, I am always challenged to grow.

These deal instead with the individual experience of work. What is unique about me? What is valuable about me? Do I feel challenged to grow? I can think of these as the “Best of Me” questions.

These two categories of experience – We experiences and Me experiences – are the things we need at work in order to thrive. They are specific; they are reliably measured; they are personal; they reveal a local individual experience intertwined with a local collective experience. They are everyday.  

What I see in the 8 questions above and the 11 skills as shown below is a simple way of measuring experience-at-work, and one that you, the team leader, can do something about.

If you really care and have a motivation to drive people by helping them to grow then you must develop this skills.

What distinguishes the best team leaders from the rest is their ability to meet these two categories of needs for the people on their teams. What we, as team members, want from you, our team leader, is firstly that you make us feel part of something bigger, that you show us how what we are doing together is important and meaningful; and secondly, that you make us feel that you can see us, and connect to us, and care about us, and challenge us, in a way that recognizes who we are as individuals. We ask you to give us this sense of universality – all of us together – and at the same time to recognize our own uniqueness; to magnify what we all share, and to lift up what is special about each of us. When you come to excel as a leader of a team it will be because you’ve successfully integrated the two quite distinct human needs (Me Experience +We Experience)

I now know that these 8 questions measure very precisely those aspects of our experience of work that matter the most-in other words, the aspects that drive performance, voluntary turnover, lost work days, accidents on the job, and customer satisfaction. So, if it is true that in large part people’s experience at work is driven by the company they work for, then when if I  ask these 8 questions to every person in every team at a particular company, I should get, generally, the same responses. There shouldn’t be variation from team to team, because the day-to-day experience of working at this particular company should remain mostly consistent. But that’s not the case- in fact, it’s never the case. The statistical measure of variation is called range, and  these scores always have a greater range within a company than between companies. Experience varies more within a company than between companies. When people choose not to work somewhere, the somewhere isn’t a company, it’s a team.

If I put you in a good team at a bad company, you’ll tend to hang around, but if I put you in a bad team at a good company, you won’t be there for long. The team is the sun, the moon, and the stars of your experience at work. When I push on the data, and examine closely its patterns and variations, I can conclude that: while people might care which company they join, they don’t care which company they work for. The truth is that, once there, people care which team they’re on.

But this is again only if you care.

If the team has the same goal, share the same vision and the team leader creates a culture so that all people working in that team are like a true family – I mean the team members behave one to each other not only as colleagues at work but also real friends in their daily life – then YES. You might care. And such exceptions exist inside those companies which I’ve just mentioned at the beginning of this post. But unfortunately this just a minority. People still quit their jobs from those companies, and they are a lot. But at least one thing remain valuable forever: THE WORK EXPERIENCE at those companies.

There are also a lot of people who after quitting theirs jobs at a company, after a while they return for pursuing another visionary project. But that can also happen everywhere in any company. It doesn’t have to be a famous brand, it’s is enough to be innovative and for sure it will attract people. Few years ago and maybe today too such a company was/is Microsoft, (many people would like to have jobs at Microsoft). But now is Google more wanted than Microsoft, because Google really has a lot of innovative projects and they continue to do innovate even more. So people could care to work there, but this can change rapidly depending on how innovative the company is. Look at Apple vs. Samsung, few years ago Apple dominated the smartphone industry, Samsung was good but not the best. Today Samsung is really one of the best in the world for what they do; from my point of view they already have beaten Apple. So for such company YES, I could care a little bit to work for. But this are just exceptions from the rule. So the general truth is the PEOPLE DON’T GIVE A SHIT ON THE COMPANIES WHICH THEY ARE WORKING FOR. Why???

I will always believe that : Due to unskilled people which hold a leadership position in those companies. INCOMPETENCE IN MANAGEMENT IS THE ROOT CAUSE TO FAIL IN ANY BUSINESS.

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