Being nice: A Corporate Tale


There are certain things in life that I have learned. My corporate tale begins this way. All companies whether small or large are open to their cultures being corrupted. No matter how good of intentions the owners, EXO or managers, their offices can be ruined by the wrong people, who have a skewed perception of being nice. This is not a tale of hiring the right person. I am not an HR expert, who can advise on how to interview. My tale is one of how most management structures are blind to who people really are.

Being Nice

It’s not that hard. I lose my cool once in a while, but I try to make it up to the person. My perspective changes and I go talk with them, making up for how I reacted. The difference between someone who is nice and not, is the difference between reaction and response. Reactions are quick, loud and sometimes explosive. There is no discussion. That’s end. Responses are slow and full of organized thought. They are consistent with the goals of the project or organization. Someone who is nice also is not afraid to speak truth and remain consistent with that.

Nice is confident. Nice is keeping honesty in all interactions. This tale is about how even nice people can lose their way when being honest doesn’t come first. People start to get hurt when being nice is thought of as merely being cordial.

How titles create silos

Beware of those who seek titles. Don’t get me wrong, titles help create structure, organization. These things are great. In companies that are large, this is needed. Defining roles and responsibilities provides everyone involved a clear vision into how things should run.

In this tale, the structures go as such. Weekly one-on-ones provide a great way for management to review the week, statuses and other important items. They provide a great to learn from each other and create a “mentoring” system.

Where this tale goes wrong, is relying heavily on information from people who are out only for themselves. When those one-on-ones become the only source of information about how things are running, it gives selfish people a closed door meeting to spin things their own way. Titles create silos when upper management never cares about how their direct reports are running things. When they rely solely on information from people who will slant the story to put themselves in the best light.

Can this be avoided?

Yes. Will it? Not if people are invested in each other rather than themselves or even sometimes, only the company. My perspective of things is different in that, the work doesn’t really matter. Yes, we care about performance and the unattainable “KPIs”, but what we are doing, day-to-day, doesn’t really matter. What does matter, creating better companies, is when the people matter. When managers are trained and held accountable to treat their reports as people and not assets. Companies who have managers that look at only the success of the company, financially, or themselves, have a problem with employee retention and satisfaction. Those who are strong enough, leave. Those who aren’t get jaded and buried, always threatening to leave but never taking the steps.

My goal

If you know me, I want to run my own full-time studio. It looks like this. A 5-6 person team, creating beautiful and thoughtful work, while creating an environment that helps support and build other team members up. It is going to take hard work and intention to make this a reality, but it is an idea in which I believe. I want to meet you if you are experiencing these same things. I want to learn from you. If you are interested in making this type of environment a reality, reach out.

Have a tremendous day!

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