Circumference of Me – Chapter 8

8. The legends of warlords

Another major failing among mid-level managers is an inability to see beyond their own boundary lines. Thinking, “I am in charge of this project, and I will control it,”is simply wrong-headed. Each department is a part that exists to assist other parts so the corporate engine can runsmoothly and efficiently.

Turf protectionism was common among ancient warlords and still is practiced by nations or regions run by tribal chiefs. There are no successful companies among which turf warfare is tolerated. There is nothing worse in a business than a “virus” – a  virulent strain of egotism – created by the ministrations and manipulations of quarreling corporate warlords.

Managers who adhere to the archaic practice of turf protection, to the detriment of the company, will not be around to see necessary changes unfold.

While “turf” is strictly a boundary issue and a sincere bugaboo in the constant search for corporate success, a manager’s “territory” should be constantly scrutinized for expansion possibilities – not in the sense of “securing more territory” to feel important, but to improve the internal processes that benefit the company. In other words, how can one department help other departments in ways individual managers may not have even contemplated? And how do you accomplish that without offending the boundary issues of other managers?

Overtures must be presented in terms of mutual consideration and benefit.

“I was thinking about that interesting project you mentioned last week and how it could help the company. What if my department assisted you by . . . ?”

There is an example of the absolute best that communication and camaraderie have to offer: A word of praise, followed by an offer of assistance.

Real life. Real, positive results.

If you want to expand your territory, do it for the right reasons. If you just want to be in charge of “more”simply to expand your turf, buy grass seed.

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