Raised by Wolves

In the typical company, people often spend more time engaged in the political struggles of their workgroup than they do getting anything productive done. The predators of other departments are quick to scan your herd for the weak and the slow, and you can probably guess the rest.

As anyone who's ventured a bit too far into the woods at night can tell you, wolves can be some pretty scary creatures. This experience is often enhanced by the likelihood of encountering a pack of wolves rather than just the famous lone wolf, and for good reason. Our canine friends understand instinctively what many people in the business world never seem to get. The bigger the pack, the safer the pups. Of course, the fact that they get better insurance rates with a group discount probably doesn't hurt either, but that's not the sort of thing you read about in the trade magazines. Wolves are also very image conscious.

Bad publicity notwithstanding (no one ever says "a pack of wolves" as a compliment), these animals are not evil by nature, even if they do have a rather unnerving stare should you happen look like tonight's main course. Nor are they a bunch of roving troublemakers who spend their evening hours spray painting humorous graffiti on the sides of sleeping antelope. They're just folks like you and me who realize that there's strength and safety in numbers. If you don't yet realize how this pertains to your professional life, you probably haven't been on the job long enough.

No matter what industry you work in, chances are good that your company is populated not by furry, four legged predators, but rather the two legged kind. The choice of winter attire is a personal matter. Most of us have had the experience at one time or another of wanting to get a particular job assignment, promotion, perk or any other little tidbit that's frequently sought after in the cubicle world, only to find it snatched away by someone more aggressive and perhaps just a bit less ethical. When they win, it's usually because we were simply outgunned on a personal level. They had better tactics, more political clout, and beat us at the game. But it doesn't have to be that way.

In the typical company, people often spend more time engaged in the political struggles of their workgroup than they do getting anything productive done. Not only does this do little for the bottom line of the company, it also leaves you with a room full of individuals whenever a competition for resources arises. The unscrupulous predators of other departments are quick to scan your herd for the weak and the slow, and you can probably guess the rest. If this leaves you feeling a bit like an isolated antelope, now would be a good time to check your posterior for any canine graffiti that you might not have noticed.

Now imagine uniting your group from an unruly herd into a single people by focusing on the common benefits that you can gain through the increased power. The next time someone comes around to snatch all the goodies that you so rightfully deserve, he'll be in for quite a surprise. Antelope may not look all that fierce, but it's a bad idea to get in front of them when there's talk of a stampede going around.

One important point to keep in mind, however, is that when a group throws its weight around and abuses others, it gains a reputation as nothing more than a gang of petty thugs. Inevitably, others will rise up against this group until they're eliminated.

To avoid this, build power by thinking in beneficial terms. If you unite by helping other people improve their careers, while at the same time benefiting your superiors and the company, you'll have a strength that will last. Furthermore, by building alliances between your groups, you can transform your company into one giant pack.

Eliminate internal divisions and bring your people together. Let your company's competitors be the ones who lose sleep at night when your people howl at the moon. I mean, it works for the wolves, doesn't it?

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