William Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage; and all the men and women merely players.” If he is right and life is a stage, then your company is a venue filled with people playing their roles.
The leading characters vary by company. When a company chooses only one or two dominating roles, they tend to become self-centered. Their dark side overtakes the stage, encroaching on other players. Fortunately, we can fix the surly dispositions by transitioning to an ensemble performance where the positions are equal (or close to it.)
The characters and their dark side roles are:
King and Queen Customers are the rulers of the corporate universe. In this imperialistic drama, customers are always right, ruling over their territory with iron fists. Every executive decision is designed to pacify the increasingly demanding monarchy.
Shareholder Land Barons require continuously improving return on investment. They expect share values to improve every quarter and dividends to multiply. Any decisions that trade short-term returns for long-term growth are unacceptable.
Employee Bosses guard their space with lethal force. Their focus is the improvement of personal comfort levels at the expense of everything else. They fill suggestion boxes with requests for longer breaks, better pay, and less work.
Technology Mavens hold the keys to the kingdom and they never let you forget it. They hide their weaknesses behind the phrase “It’s complicated technology stuff.” Since you are not technologically inclined, you retreat from any confrontation.
Executive Overlords demand more: More commitment from employees; more discounts from vendors; more profit from customers; and more patience from shareholders. Failure to succumb to their requests is met with quick and professionally lethal punishment.
If you haven’t met one or more of these characters, you are probably new to the business world. I hope you never see them because any one of them will ruin your day and can destroy your career.
The best corporate culture is an ensemble performance where the players have balanced roles.
The purpose of business is to serve customers at a profit. This requires everything and everybody working together in symbiotic relationships.
When this happens, ideas become seeds that sprout prosperity. Once planted, the players rally around it, feeding the roots, and trimming the overgrowth until it bears fruit.
Companies that cast ensemble groups have higher customer loyalty, employee morale, and shareholder benefits. Do you need to recast your company?