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Monday, December 19, 2011

‘Sibling’ Rivalry at Work

While most us will have gone through our early childhood as best of friends with our siblings, many have had to endure the rivalry that exists between children in the same family. The competition for the parents’ attention is high and the pressure to outdo the other is great. Most of the siblings would go to great heights to ensure they emerge as the favorites while their siblings end up in failure. But as much as rivalry among siblings had been considered negative, it also comes with its positive bag of goodies.

There is a replay of the home rivalry at work. While most of the competition among siblings is instigated by the kids who feel either left out or not appreciated, there are times when parents engineer such competition. At work, it is also known that many employers develop mechanisms to pit one department against another. You would have competition among two marketing teams, each with clear targets and objectives. The performance of one team is measured against the performance of the other. This is meant to encourage the teams to be creative, flexible and play ball better as a team.

When companies set you up for competition, there is little you can do since the performance of one team would always be used to explain why you should not have been unable to meet certain targets. There is no way you would say the market was harsh when your competing team is making great sales in the same environment. This is super for enhancing team commitment and play at work.

I recently overheard of a company that would produce two similar products targeted at the same market. The idea was to have the different product teams work out ways of ensuring they make inroads into the same market through different client products. This was tough. Why not produce products for different markets than make teams in the same company compete? The logic is simple. The client would be interested in the product and since clients work best with choices, give them the choice to make between product B and P, although they are not significantly different. How many brands of Yoghurt do we see teams competing to sell from the same company?

Since there is little that an employee would in most cases do to alter the strategy of the employer, it is wise to seek for ways of seeing the beauty in the beast. Seek to consolidate your team and develop strategies to win the clients over to your side. You will want to dialogue as teams to ensure you do not clash at the market place. As much as the clients may not get to know of the clash, there would the possibility of developing bad blood between the teams that could make the noble idea of team competition collapse. 

As a team player, concentrate on the product you are selling and not necessarily talking ill of your team mates’ products. In the long run, remember you are from the same parent and the umbilical cord from whence both of you get their nourishment is the same. Compete at peace.

Changing Jobs in December

Hurray. It is December. The year has been hectic and the end of every year usually brings in relief to many. It is a sort of psychological solace as the year draws to a close since employees and business people see the close of the year as a sign of the end of challenges experienced through the year. There are however those who have had a great time through this year and only look forward to greater experience in the coming year. The feelings are indeed mixed and the motivation as we close the year is as varied.

December is arguably one of the months that also serve as make or break for many. It is the month when workers seek for what they consider as greener pastures since there is usually a feeling that starting a new year on a new job is a sign of good tidings ahead. The persons who could have been jobless throughout this year may then be on the roll sending out applications and praying in all ways that they are called for interviews. On the other end, persons already engaged in various jobs are also seeking for what they consider as a well-deserved change since a change during this season could be considered as a morale booster.

With this motivation and perception, the job market is abuzz with activity. Lots of applications are being sent out against a job absorption capacity that may not accommodate everyone. Tensions rise by the day as the calendar moves on with few or no interview invites. With the level of anxiety rising as we draw closer to the festive season, staff get easily irritable as they realize their long desired opportunities are not forthcoming. 

As much as many persons are willing to leave their current places for better and more rewarding opportunities, it could be that more people are unsettled in their seats but still cling on since they have not found space elsewhere. With this, the scenario is of a workforce that is on its toes to leave yet can’t make a move due to lack of space. This leads to reduced productivity and inadequate planning for next year.

Managing staff transitions over December is a challenge for many HR practitioners. Depending on how the employer has managed the staff through the year, it would in most cases tell the behavior patterns at the close of the year. The advice is usually to ensure that HR managers better work with staff supervisors to ensure staff are treated with dignity throughout the year to be guaranteed of stable workforce in the mind throughout the seasons. 

As we experience the wave, many are normally carried away. Some people seek to change jobs for the sake of changing. They seek to change because it seems fashionable to do so. This can be counterproductive. Any job change should be well advised by positive motivations after a critical evaluation of what the next step holds. Hold on and only move when you should, when it is time to move, not because it is December.