Maybe you have suspected it, but this is the time of year when your worst fears may be realized. (This is what an insane company feels like)
Companies which have been focused on making the numbers look good finally face up the fact that they need to make changes. Unfortunately, too many make the wrong changes and never recover. Their first choice is to lay off those employees whose negative comments have been making management nervous.
That cuts down the noise level and management feels that there is hope of getting the situation under control now that the complainers in marketing and customer support are gone.
This hope is short-lived as they find themselves inundated with customer complaints that just will not go away. Somehow in their zeal to clean house, they have laid off the people who were working hardest to provide customers with good service. Then the contract cancellations begin…and the layoffs begin in earnest.
Perhaps you were so buried in work that you missed the warning signs. You may have been the ideal employee, but that doesn’t help when the corporate ship is coming apart at the seams.
If the corporate culture is sick, various levels of the company will be fighting each other and there will be little agreement on helping customers. You could view it as a multiple-personality disorder, with interesting overtones of paranoia, insane rage, and despair, whatever.
The bottom line as always, is that no one is having a good time and customers are getting the shaft.
What is not generally understood is that corporate culture is "the ghost in the machine" It is a set of agreements that grow out of the million and one discussions and interactions that go into creating and mobilizing a company. It is the most important component of any company.
Furthermore, like the human spirit, when the corporate culture is gone, the company is for all practical purposes, dead.
A sane culture is one which values and supports every part of the organization; it values customers and employees, it values the environment, and it values investors.
An insane culture values abstract numbers rather than real accomplishments. When a company shifts from satisfying customer requirements in an ethical way to meeting profit goals regardless of what shortcuts are taken, the cultural agreements are being broken and the company is on its way out.
If your company is ethically challenged, that is something you should be aware of and work to change, if possible. If you can’t change your environment for the better, then you need to find an organization that operates with integrity and give it all the support you can.
Insanity is catching. Ask anyone who has worked in a sick corporate culture. Recovery can take a long time. Spend your time working with people who recognize your worth and reward you appropriately.
For a more thorough treatment of this subject read the five articles I wrote about corporate insanity starting on June 21, 2005.