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You Ought to Know that Sink or Swim Mindset is a Thing of the Past

During my first eight months in the workforce I worked in one of the top consulting firms in the world and was handled by a team of highly competitive superiors who taught me during orientation their philosophy within the organization -- Sink or Swim. My manager Jojo Lugartos explained to me that I was given a couple of months to adjust and make mistakes, after that, I have to swim together with the experienced people or I am looking at being counseled out which he did with a number of people in the past.

How did I see the philosophy presented to me?

I was not scared when he told me the sink or swim attitude but was excited and felt a surge of competitive edge running through my veins. I worked and pushed myself to the limits learning a lot of things on my own without any formal training or turnover from the people who initially owned the project. That was how it went in the organization and I felt a certain level of fulfillment having accomplished what seemed to be impossible. I earned my manager's respect and had an unbelievable rating that year.

Fast forwarding to my next company

As the years past I carried with me the sink or swim philosophy until I recently transferred to one of the top technology, consulting, services corporation in the world which taught me the value of stewardship which the company defines as helping people out to improve and learn.

In a competitive environment where there is a War for Talent, managers should not look at kicking his people out in unsatisfactory performance, rather look at the employee and see what the manager can do to help the employee grow and become an asset to the organization. This is no longer a field of playing using brawn but rather brains and analyze the situation of the employee.

What are the reasons the employee under perform?

1. Not a Right Fit - the manager has not put the employee where he could use his strengths to the fullest and instead have placed him in a position that will make him least perform.

Experience in Point

One of the people I worked with did not have good communication skills and during requirements gathering with the client he could not explain what he needed from the client and instead of coming with a complete requirements document he could only manage to come up with a portion of what was needed.

2. Different Orientation - the employee is new to the environment and have been used to a different style of management or processes. You cannot judge the employee if he doesn't believe in a lot of process and documentation but rather coach him to be able to understand what is expected from him based on company procedure and practices.

3. Lack of Orientation - the employee was not given enough information or materials to read through before starting his work that leaves him blind of situations.

A number of reasons could exist for an employee to under perform and the value of stewardship is to be able to coach the employee towards the right path. By doing this, you avoid alienating the employee within your organization and he feels valued and needed by the team. He senses a level of importance within the group.

I still believe in the sink or swim philosophy (I thank my previous manager Jojo Lugartos for it) and I will continuously apply it to myself or to people who might have a strong competitive orientation; but in large, it is a thing of the past it seems.

[tags]Business, Manager, Management[/tags]

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Date : Sunday, August 27, 2006
Author : Milo
Translations : Sunday, August 27, 2006
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1 User Comment/s

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  1. anon, August 12, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    so, did you like jojo lugartos as a manager? i heard he wasn’t very well liked.

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