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Unite & Succeed
It is a given that everyone wants to be successful and tries to do anything to achieve it. The pathways are different, and the choice is made as per the orientation of the individual. People try to choose the shorter cut of Divide & Rule which may help to achieve personal success though it may not always be long-lived.
Unite & Succeed approach is that we take everyone along and achieve success together. I would like to put forth following arguments in its favor.
Since the evolution of knowledge-based work, which is now almost all of it, no work can be done end to end alone. Various parts of it may be done alone, but not the whole job. We may take example of any department in a corporate, it will be following the same pattern. Junior officers in an Accounts department do the daily entries of transactions, the middle level managers compile, senior managers review and analyze, and the head of function takes decisions alone or in consultation with the CEO. It is an entire chain in which each piece has its critical importance. No matter how much silo-oriented the function head maybe, he cannot perform without the team. He cannot continue to perform at the expense of the team either. In my long career, I have seen several managers trying to stay successful without giving credit to the team, and they did achieve it for varying lengths of time, but it became their undoing finally.
It is a common adage that a manager is as strong as his team. Time proves this fact constantly, but corporate managers fail to comprehend it. Imagine a football team manager trying to achieve glory with sub-standard team, low morale, and a poor coach, everyone would call him stupid. The corporate managers are doing exactly the same thing. They tend to hire low quality people who would not stand up to them, keep them suppressed and disrespected, do not coach them, and still expect great results out of their team. The results are obviously poor to mediocre. The boss remains unhappy and stressed due to unenviable results, further increases the pressure, which results in higher team turnover, adding the stress of unfinished work. A certain amount of anxiety is good for increasing the performance, but when it increases beyond a certain point, it causes decline in performance. It is in the interest of the managers to make a great team to achieve great results.
Human Capital Development has been the subject of huge body of work for the last several years and has led to major changes in the HR working. All major corporates commit to it and subscribe to it, and it is not out of love for people, it is due to love for results. The corporates have come to understand that they are dependent on good quality human resource to reach their ambitious goals, which all of them are carrying. In addition, the competition gets intense with every passing day, and winning needs ever more effort from people. Let us face the fact that Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Softwares, and digitization has not decreased the importance of humans; it has rather increased. Yes, some labor-intensive, repetitive jobs shall be replaced with machines, but human talent is too dexterous to supersede. Teams shall always be required to work together to bring success.
Talent shortage is now felt worldwide. Countries like Pakistan have a lot of unemployment while at the same time jobs remain vacant. It is due to our bad education system where students are being taught subjects which have no market worth. On the other hand, developed countries are attracting talent from anywhere in the world at lucrative wages. Brain Drain from countries like ours is enormous and disastrous. In the last three days, I have seen two posts on Facebook from people traveling abroad and saying, ‘goodbye Pakistan’. It means it is not usual travel, it is leaving for good. Talent hunting, retention, and management happens only when the working environment is conducive, the teams work as teams, and produce great results.
Speeches about teamwork which we see very often on LinkedIn and Facebook, holding events once in a while, wearing same color clothes is no indication of actual teamwork; it is just a show. I know pharma companies which have bad work environment, but they post pictures of team events and so on. Their results show more about the situation rather than the pictures. Paying lip service has become a tradition; every senior speaks about the virtues of being united as a team and achieve great heights, but many do not follow the same in their practice.
Having worked in the Pharma Industry for a very long time, both with MNCs and Local Corporates, I can cite with authenticity that every company that has grown big had a history of a team which worked consistently for 10 – 15 years and changed the face of the company. I have been part of such teams also. Their environment was electric, their internal enthusiasm was contagious, and they did not need motivation to start work every day. This is also universal that these teams scattered after that long spell. It happened mostly due to the changed management structure, and lateral induction of senior managers from a totally different culture. The bosses and the teams could not gel together, and the teams were let go. In all mega mergers, a similar thing has happened. The company which got the upper hand somehow promoted their own and discarded the others even if they were great performers.
The sum up is that teamwork brings extraordinary, sustained results. It develops everyone in the process, keeps only the necessary stress, and maintains energy of the team. Divide & Rule may bring results in the short term which are not sustainable, it drains the energy out of team members, and increases the stress of the bosses and subordinates alike. These bosses are more prone to health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and so on. If, as a manager, you are seeking long term, consistent, good results, the key is Unite to Succeed.
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