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Saturday, February 05, 2005


Love and Work are Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

Or its kind of like the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercials - chocolate and peanut butter are the two great tastes that taste great together.

Jodee Bock, a kindred spirit who writes a blog called You Already Know This Stuff, asks some great questions. Her most recent entry is called: LOVE and WORK in the same sentence? She asks, "So, is it possible to utter the words "LOVE" and "WORK" in the same sentence? Can those two concepts co-exist?" She offers Southwest Airlines and Wegmans grocery chain as prime examples; that bringing together the two concepts can be both good for business and the people who work the business. Seems pretty obvious yet these organizations tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

I like her sports analogy: too many companies play not to lose rather than play to win. What's the difference?

Organizations employing the former strategy regard mistakes as cardinal sins and a source of punishment instead of learning; be tight with their information to employees, customers, and stockholders; consider their employees at best cogs in the machine and at worst untrustworthy and in need of arbitrary rules; and otherwise view the world as a nasty, brutish place where everyone's out to get you. You can sense this attitude in the culture and see it at work in its ability to be innovative. Quick, spot the playfulness and creativity in the office. None there? Probably playing not to lose.

On the other side of the fence is the organization that's playing to win. It sets its own tempo (or vision) and doesn't worry about the competition's game; it knows its own strengths as well as its weaknesses; it sees its people and customers as absolutely integral to its success; it cultivates the abilities and talents of its people and lets them loose to do their thing while trusting that they will contribute to the overarching business goals.

Let's be honest, which one would you rather work for?

Categories: c.Careers; c.Organizations

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