Sunday, March 11, 2007

'Lax or Lion?

Needed to make some changes in both the organisation and make-up of an operation in Europe. In the doing so, an obvious contrast between one set of cultural - and hence business - norms and another was once again thrown into sharp relief.

There are countries where it's accepted that the needs of the business are uppermost when it comes to assessing the suitability of any particular employee to best fill a given position. However, there are also those places where the opposite holds true, and the expectation is that the welfare of the team or the group should prevail, even it it means carrying weak performers.

Perhaps this is stating the obvious but the Silicon Valley start-up ethos is most certainly the former, not the latter, and that's the way it needs to be if the fledgling business is to thrive and grow. I got called "unsentimental" this week in dealing with just such a situation and I suppose, given this cultural divide, that this was an understandable opinion. So be it. The idea of wasting another 6 months while the local manager tries to "coach" this employee to success is just ridiculous, especially when he himself admitted that this wasn't going to produce a different outcome.

Silicon Valley may indeed be a jungle, but at least you know how the laws of nature work and why they work the way they do.

Back in the USA this week and it feels, at least out West, that Spring has arrived. Got home to find it was 78 degrees with wall-to-wall sunshine on offer for the rest of the week.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, the Q-end is approaching ever closer and we've got a ton to get done between now and then. The treadmill never slows, but it does seem to gain a few points on the "incline" scale each month....

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