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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Threats and Alliances

It’s not uncommon, in business, to talk about threats. It certainly makes sense when you’re looking at threats outside your business. There’s even a matrix that’s often used called a SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Some of the threats referred to here are ones that come at you from political, economic, social, and/or technological areas. Some organizations also look at internal threats to business like poor leadership, financial problems, etc.

People also look at threats personally. “Who is a threat to me and my position?” “Who can threaten my security?” I have worked with people who definitely looked at particular coworkers as threats or enemies. To combat these threats, they looked to make alliances…yes, alliances like countries do. That’s some kind of teamwork, huh? Yeah, right.

If you are currently working in an environment, or someday find yourself in a work environment that makes you start thinking about threats and alliances, you have a few choices:

    1. Start making those alliances with people who can help you fight back your threats.
    2. Leave. Get the heck out of Dodge. Try to find an organization where the team culture is positive.
    3. Look at yourself and see why someone might legitimately be a threat to your work “well being”. If someone is doing a better job than you, is that the other person’s fault or yours?

I think #1 is just plain bad. #2 should be a last resort. I recommend #3.

The whole idea of personal threats at work is most often a red herring. The real problem is often us, ourselves. Think about how you can best contribute and work to be the most outstanding employee, leader, and teammate you can be. Then you shouldn't have to worry about anyone else.