The other day, in the spirit of boredom bursting, I started playing the famous game of “Snakes & Ladders” with my 5 year old kid Dhwani. We both set out on the path to reach the 100 mark fastest.
The little one was super enthusiastic when she got the ladders. And upset when the
After reaching the 98 mark, she was repeatedly getting bit by the snake at the 99 mark; sending her tumbling down. The first setback was okay, she managed to digest the setback on the second instance but the third time, she started crying – the snake was her enemy and now she was all tears and adamant that she didn’t want to play the game.
The little game made me reflect on the parallel that I could draw with the corporate world; with the journey from a management trainee to the CEO in a typical organisation
So, what “ladders” do you encounter initially in these companies- the things that vault their career into the marquee zone without having to wait for infinite years?
For some, it could be entry into the marquee leadership programs from MBA and CA campuses – with a dedicated Talent Management HR being responsible for an accelerated career path for these “wonder kids”
For others, maybe, the art of working weekends and sending work emails late night, the CEO being Dad’s classmate, joining a task force that is valued by the upper echelons and asking an intelligent question in the Annual Strategy Meet to get noticed by the CEO
These initial ladders make up leapfrog into mid management and from there, new ladders emerge. You will go higher if you can kick-ass, sudden resignations and you filling the vacuum, you can get job offers from competition and get Recognition by Resignation ; screwing up competition by playing office politics to your advantage
What about the snakes that bite the others – the career thwarting pitfalls. Maybe you lied on your CV and the HR found out, maybe you could not Cover Your Ass (CYA) when you goofed up and people noticed, maybe you weren’t diplomatic enough and boss got offended or maybe, the insecure boss took complete credit for the work and never let your get the visibility your work deserved.
The snakes continue to bite, let’s say, when you make it to the senior management. The economy goes into recession and the CEO needs a scapegoat, which is you; you lose a boardroom power struggle or as CFO, you had kept your forex exposure unhedged to save costs and the rupee tumbles.
Depending on which side of the divide you are, you would be happy or sad after reading the above.
Once career success is essentially the sum total of the Snakes & Ladder impact; call it “Luck”, call it dexterity, but that’s how the cookie crumbles..
Is the corporate world a meritocracy or an outcome of how you play this dangerous power game?
What do you think about it?
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