Busting Your Corporate Idol Chapter 4 Part 6
In last week’s posts, we met Vijay, the Indian mench who complied with an innocent-sounding request and lost his job as a result. From the perspective of many years later, Vijay told me if he had it to do over again, he would have been able to avoid the situation completely. Vijay learned by experience, and now has a story in his head that helps him make better decisions about who to trust.
I heard many similar stories doing interviews for the book. I started seeing patterns; certain types of people kept coming up. I soon found myself characterizing them according to animals from fables and parables.
Fables and parables have survived thousands of years because they communicate true insights about people, morality, and values. I call the people in the workplace who have a disproportionate impact on trust decisions the Scorpion, the Fox, and the Wolf. The three categories are drawn from the parable of the Fox and the Wolf, and the fable of the Scorpion and the Frog, both of which are easy-to-remember stories that teach important lessons about misplaced trust. If you can understand where someone fits in the “SFW” framework, you will have an insight into their priorities and perhaps their underlying values.
The Fox, Scorpion and Wolf behave in a predictable way that reflects their underlying priorities, and by proxy their value system. Do they put people first? Do they put the company first? Do they put themselves first? If you know someone’s priorities, it becomes much easier predict what they will do, and give you a leg up as you decide whether to trust them or not. Next post we’ll take a fresh look at Vijay’s nemesis the scientist. Based on the table below, which animal is she?
|Motivated by||Strength||Weakness||Suggested Approach|
|Scorpion||Strict set of ideas||Execution & vision||Inflexible, polarizing||Avoid or exit situation|
|Fox||Self advancement||Talking, motivating||Poor execution||Force them to do more, talk less|
|Wolf||Getting it done for self, company, ideas||Execution, relationships||Too trusting||Cooperate, partner|