Select Page

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”

“If companies were to operate at peak efficiency without what organizational scholars call “citizenship behavior,” tasks would have to be optimally assigned 100% of the time, tasks could not take any unexpected turns, and no part of anything could go faster or slower than anticipated.”  HBR Jan/Feb 2014, Spotlight

This got me thinking… what is “citizenship behavior”?  What behaviors help or hinder our ability to overcome?  We can never make every process perfect all the time — it takes our creative solutions, our driving flexibility into the process to be able to handle disruption. We need what organization scholars call “citizenship behavior” to cement ourselves as world class companies.

Here are four “citizenship behaviors” that can make any organization sub-performers. Do you:

1.  Merely consume a paycheck

  • When I see something I know is going to be an issue, do I just watch and say, “Yep, saw that coming.” Or do I take ownership?
  • Do I do everything in my power to stop/minimize the disruption or potential disruption?
  • Do I “clock watch” the minutes to the end of the day or do I go the extra mile?

2.  Criticize your leadership (we are all leaders, our peers are leaders, and we all have leaders)

  • Do I seek out fault and grumble about leadership?
  • Do I seek to improve my business acumen such that I better understand leadership direction?
  • Do I make sure leadership has all the facts, accurately, un-biased, and timely?
  • Do I want to prove leadership’s weaknesses or work to strengthen them?

3.  Ignore your co-workers outside of work

  • Do I seek to develop working relationships — lunch buddies, charity volunteer together, or sports?
  • Do I take time to get to “know” the people I work with — am I kind?
  • Do I see everyone as a “them” and never as an “us”?

4.  Believe that everything should be about you and for you, all the time

  • Do I believe that work “owes” me, or do I believe I should be given more than my paycheck?
  • Am I disgruntled because work did not (fill in the blank), or am I excited to be doing my part.

When we understand that the company is not a person, but rather a group of people – a group we are part of – we quickly see that the company is us. In other words, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” (Pogo, Walt Kelly)

How are you ensuring the success of the company you are a member of? And now that you may see things differently, what are you going to do about it?

be intentional,
Melissa