Published on Tuesday, 09 December 2014 17:45
To play Token Involvement, a manager conducts opinion surveys, focus group, or involvement meetings to communicate that "your opinion matters", but these activities are done only to make people feel involved rather than actually to involve them. The real intention is just to get rid of the complaints and for managers to show their management that they´re doing the "right" thing-involving their people in the decision-making process. The same game is played when leaders involve their direct reports supercially, soliciting their views on department strategy but relying exclusively on their views on department strategy but relying exclusively on thei own view. Cynicism becomes employees´ultimate response to this game, and they lose respect for management. Perhaps evens worse, when management really needs employees to be committed and contribuing to a major project, they have great difficulty securing this involvement.Read more...
Published on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 18:20
In this game, the player creates good rapport with many levels of subordinates through town hall meetings and other devices. During these meetings, the player sends very positive messages, but her actions often have a negative impact in the long run. Still, these efforts increase her popularity and make it seem as if she has the best interests of the whole at heart, often putting her direct reports in a tough spot.
Published on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 13:46
Published on Thursday, 02 February 2012 10:47
Published on Wednesday, 07 December 2011 16:10
Published on Tuesday, 01 November 2011 12:59
The player recognizes his direct report (or someone else) in front of a group for a good idea, subtly establishing hierar- chy. (Only a higher-level executive would recognize another professional’s idea in public.)
Published on Wednesday, 05 October 2011 16:05
In this game, internal customers ask for supply (for example, of a project or report) earlier than they really need it because they don’t trust that it will be delivered on time. Suppliers know this and therefore don’t deliver by the date requested.
Published on Thursday, 08 September 2011 12:23
Published on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 12:21
Published on Wednesday, 08 June 2011 14:09
Sandbagging is played in two forms: by managers who have a P&L responsibility and by managers who have cost center responsibility. In the first case, managers purposely lowball sales forecasts as a negotiating ploy. Headquarters, knowing that this is a common practice (as they themselves were managers before and used to play this game), engage in a sequence of negotiations, losing trust in their managers’ real judgment and often coercing the managers to accept a topdown number at the end of negotiations. In the second form, managers purposely present a higher budget than actually required, to start negotiations.
Published on Monday, 28 February 2011 15:49
Published on Tuesday, 01 February 2011 17:05
In this game, a company installs a strong meritocracy based on MBO. A good year-end rating will result in a high bonus and good career; a low year-end rating will result in poor career progression. What makes this a game is that the manager does not take into account any other factors in assessing performance (such as major uncontrollable external events or a change of plans midyear), and this creates a climate where people feel very much hostages to fortune, or where people compete unfairly to win at all costs. This game is particularly insidious because it operates behind a guise of objectivity; it allows players to justify their decisions about promotions, bonuses, and salary increases as “perfectly logical” when those decisions are only logical from a very narrow perspective.
Published on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 12:53
In Lowballed Baseline, a manager steps into a new role—after joining the company or after being transferred or promoted—and immediately starts telling people that the department is in bad shape financially. By disparaging his predecessor, he sets low expectations that he is able to meet
or exceed, thus appearing to have “turned things around.” Some managers are highly skilled at playing this game, shading the facts just enough that their pessimistic projections feel accurate. They may well enlist others in this game, encouraging their direct reports to help them slant the facts negatively. A great deal of effort goes into creating this low baseline, and therefore not much effort has to be expended on actual work, as anything above the baseline will be considered a success.
Example: Elena was a new manager who joined a company that had just gone through an acquisition, and she was given a position of responsibility within the acquired group. Elena declared that the unit was a “mess”—that given its structure, its personnel, and its products, there was no way it could come close to the CFO’s financial projections for it. She seized on one negative factor—that a few people resigned
after the acquisition—and talked about how these were “indispensable” individuals and that the loss of their knowledge and expertise would make it impossible to operate effectively until new people were hired and trained. In fact, the people who left were B and C players, but Elena did a masterful job of portraying them as A players.
Published on Friday, 29 October 2010 11:57
In this game, the player never brings important business topics to her management team meetings. She prefers to manage critical decisions bilaterally with her subordinates, therefore preventing a team’s forming, which allows her greater control. When confronted with this behavior, the player might explain that her decision-making process accelerated decisions in the company. However, using this approach, the player misses out on the power of dialogue and its impact on the quality of the decision.
Published on Thursday, 30 September 2010 12:36
In this game, the player is able to influence things in her favor by managing agendas so that she is always unavailable to the people who have a different perspective. People win this game when they don’t have to take other perspectives into account because they successfully avoided those individuals who might voice such perspectives.
Example: A passionate country manager of Italy had a radical idea with regard to where he wanted to take the Italian business; however, it would require a serious reorganization, the firing of some key people, and some financial support. The regional head did not want to have to say no to the proposal (if he did so, it would be difficult to hold the country manager accountable), but somehow was never available long enough to finish the conversation, and by the time the budget cycle came around, nothing was decided, and no one ever addressed the radical idea.
Published on Wednesday, 01 September 2010 12:23
In this game, the player hires a consultant to do a feasibility study of a project she already knows is feasible; she needs an external person to deem the project “worthy” so that senior management will approve it.
Example: At a company that had recently been bought by another company in a slightly different sector, a senior manager in the acquired company identifi ed which consulting group the acquirer typically used, and briefed this consulting group on his proposed reorganization of the unit. The consulting company then prepared the “data” and arguments to support this position, and ultimately the proposal was approved because the consulting company was credible to senior management and had “stamped” the proposal. The added advantage for the manager was a diminution of responsibility for the proposal; if the idea failed, the manager could move to play Scapegoat.
Published on Friday, 30 July 2010 12:59
The boss is uncomfortable firing a subordinate and therefore sets an “impossible” budget that will give him this leverage, as there is no way the subordinate can achieve his goals with the severe financial constraints.
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Published on Friday, 02 July 2010 12:27
Just before retiring from the company, an executive gives overly generous salary increases to all his direct reports.
(Variation: A boss promotes a low performer to another team to get rid of her.)
Published on Monday, 31 May 2010 14:22
The player prepares a presentation to the executive team with 5 slides and 140 backups. He has answers to any possible question they ask. The game here is never to be caught
without an answer to a question, the assumption being that preparation is all that counts.
Published on Friday, 23 April 2010 12:51
In this game, a document is deliberately leaked (either internally or externally) in order to discredit someone.
Example: An employee had been asked by his boss for a summary of a recent meeting. Expecting that the summary would be kept confidential, he employee wrote a report, including his assessment of the positions each of the different meeting members took. While this employee was on vacation, his report was sent directly to all the meeting participants, with a cover letter describing the high levels of “transparency” that were being sought.
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A terrific read not only for senior leaders and executives but also for employees seeking growth in complex organizations. Goldstein and Read dissect the interpersonal dynamics that affect a company’s performance, provide a framework to understand the games that are commonly played in businesses around the world, and offer practical tools to correct these behaviors and improve the organization’s effectiveness.
Jacopo Bracco Executive Vice President DIRECTV Latin AmericaRead more...
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