Chapter 4: Who To Trust At Work Part 18 (Conclusion)
This chapter I’ve shared stories that illustrate how the people at work can contribution to corporate idolatry. But as the following story illustrates, even the best of people, working for the most admirable of Wolves, are subject to strong influence from both circumstances and the workplace culture.
One senior product manager we’ll call “Jill” had a Fox manager who pushed and pushed in private to get the product out, and then publically pointed the finger at her when disaster struck. According to Jill, after leading the team for a year “it felt crappy to sit in the room, and watch everyone look to my boss to find a solution. They acted like I wasn’t there. But later in the meeting there came this moment when my manager gave me a look that seemed to say ‘what do I do next?’ I looked him in the eye, and although I knew exactly what needed to be done, I said nothing.” And the outcome? The Fox manager was soon moved to a backwater of the company, while Jill delivered a solution and recovered her reputation.
After that time, Jill was able to manage the politics much more effectively, and while the environment wasn’t exactly supportive, it wasn’t hostile either. But the story does not end there, because Jill was still in a very poor situation.
Jill’s competition released a product that the customers liked better, and her marketing programs and sales pep talks were not going to change that. Circumstances were beyond Jill’s control, but she pushed herself to the edge of ruin in a futile effort to regain market leadership.
Jill believed that her heroic efforts could result in a major change in the marketplace. Psychologists call this the “Illusion of Control.” I call it another face of idolatry.