I like anti-patterns… so here are a few organizational values as anti patterns. See if you can tell what these people value. Where do you think they got this behavior? How is their behavior influencing the culture around you?
“hey, can you call Mitch, his login isn’t working. That should only take you 15minutes.” This guy stands between you and your customers and delegates every request to you with no regard to your workload, capacity, or priority. Everything is Top priority to the delegator. He often tells you how long it will take you as if to imply it’s easy so you don’t tell him you don’t have time because you’re already working on his 4 other #1 priorities. Best Defense: Make delegator choose what you will drop to do his new item.
“Thanks for doing this war room, let’s buy you lunch so you don’t have to leave” Has a ‘go to’ motivational tool for everyone “pizza, time off, training-of-your-choice”. Thinks that you’ll eat dogshit and love it if she just rewards you now and then with mundane things like food or a leaving at 2pm. Best Defense – hate pizza
“Wow that is the most interesting thing I’ve ever heard about SOLID principles and TDD, Bret… now so how about those TPS reports, how are those coming?” The appeaser thinks that if they just tell you how awesome all of your ideas are that you’ll just get back to doing the tasks they want you to do so they can get back to what they were doing.
The Pomeranian (Shitzu, West Highland… etc)
“Omg arf arf arf arf OMG arf arf arf!” The shitzu gets worked up when other people get worked up and it feeds straight down to you and is in your face. They often have a solution but never explain the problem to you. If you find yourself in a meeting with no idea why’re you’re there you’ve probably been a victim of the Shitzu.
“Ted, you’ve always been able to save my butt before… can you help me?” The victim realizes that you’re a hero and you want to save people from burning buildings. They’ll use that to their benefit by making you out to be the hero… they’ll even give you credit for it and take you out for dinner. You’re team will hate you because you always shirk the team work for the hero work.
The “Nice” Threatener
“Bill, you like this manager job and having this office don’t you?” The threatener never says they’ll can you but they got stuff they want done… if you don’t do it… well there may be trouble ok. Not much you can do here… unless someone has bigger firepower than the threatener and can get your back.
The “Gut” guy
“Sure all that scrum and PMI and ‘planning’ stuff is interesting, but what does your gut tell you on this? You don’t want to be one of those academics!” Gut-Guy was probably once very educated but has become cynical since idealism gets tiresome. “This is the real world, man”. No amount of ‘best practices’ or outside proof will convince this person that they understand the context best and you should just go with your gut.
The “Experience” gal
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years [so whatever you just said I Ignored because I know better than you do] so let’s just do it the way I know works.” Experience gal is probably wrong, but 30 years of doing it wrong has never gotten her killed or fired so it must be the right way of doing it! Experience gal and Gut guy are interestingly at odds with one another… unless they’re the same person.
The “Academic” Guy
“well let’s see it says on page 94 that you just need to write the user story on a card and then we’ll write what we want to test on the back and then we’ll estimate it using these planning poker cards” Academic guy has read a lot of stuff… he’s probably smart and knows a lot of terminology but he doesn’t really understand how it fits together in ‘the real world’. He is almost certainly at odds with Experience gal and gut guy, but is insignificant and ignored because no one listens to intellectuals. Usually they have no idea why things are best practices… they just use them blindly.
“yea we’ll be doing your review soon, just give it some time. We need to talk to the president and push some numbers around.” The schmoozer is you’re best friend… I mean he hasn’t given you a raise in 2 years because “the economy is in the crapper” or “we haven’t had reviews yet” or “no one is getting raises”. There is never an objective goal to get anything from Schmoozer. He just has his schtick that he probably copies straight from his bosses mouth and he’s such a pushover he falls for it… but you’re not buying it… are you?
“ok so here are your objectives for this year, you make a 5 star rating on all of these and you put you in for that promotion.” Carrot dangler hangs the awesome carrot in front of you and gives you all this great ‘objective’ stuff to do for him.. (mostly just cut and pasted from his bosses objectives for him). If you like hamster wheels or treadmills this can be kindof cool… usually the objectives are easy to pretend that you’ve done them. Honestly I’m good at working for a carrot-dangler I just realize it’s an endless wheel of making them more famous and popular while you’re tucked away in your cube hammering all these things out for them they’re out making good friends up the chain and getting promoted. If you want to work for the same guy forever that’s cool just make sure he’s actually going to becoming 1 pay grade higher than you wish to become.
So… why am I talking anti patterns?
Companies say they have “Values”… “Core values” or “Cultural values” or “Organizational values”
We’ve all seen them… they’re in the handbook.. posted on walls… said in a cliché-like super-cool do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do tone by smooth looking chiseled featured CXO style muckity mucks.
What are they really though?
How can you tell what the real organizational values are at the company that you’re about to work at are?