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Is your business like Bruce Banner, or the Hulk?

Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger

Organisations are like individuals. A personality profile of an organisation

will include strength and weaknesses, values, the work environment, behavior under stress, ideal customers, how it manages change and the overall corporate culture. So what happens when the personality is that of the Hulk?

The Hulk is an intelligent, educated, rational, normally calm rather shy  man, a scientist. But an experiment in his laboratory went wrong. Now he can no longer control his emotions. If something or someone annoys him he turns into a raging monster, shouting incoherently, rampaging around like an irritable rhinoceros or bull elephant on heat.

Imagine working in HR for an organisation with a personality like the Hulk. An organisation with great well thought out policies and procedures reflecting a clear set of values that inform the way, employees, customers and partner agencies are treated. A commitment to transparency in the way decisions are made, an elaborate employee engagement process , a willingness to work with a range of parters and a strong sense of business ethics. And a reputation for over reacting.

Half way through some delicate negotiations the management side simple walks out of the meeting with employee representatives annoyed at their continued objections to proposed changes to working arrangements. Funding is unilaterally and suddenly with drawn from a joint project because of what are seen as critical comments made in a local radio interview by a senior manager from the partner agency. The senior management team is irritated by the difficulty they and their managers are experiencing parking their cars at HQ. So without warning an email is sent to all staff that with immediate effect only managers will be allowed to use the car park.

With this model of management as their example managers at every level in the organisation are prone to reacting with impatience and intolerance if they are frustrated in what they consider to be legitimate attempts to manage. The result is a high level of grievances against managers and frequent conflict with support services, finance, IT and HR.

HR are accused of being obstructive when they refuse to let a manager circumnavigate the recruitment process to make a swift appointment of “ some one they know”. HR is seen as unhelpful when they point out that before some one can be said to have failed their probationary period their must be evidence of feed back to the individual, opportunities to improve performance and clarity of expectations e.g. targets with time scales. Manager frustration in dealing with absenteeism has even been know to result in HR being called “useless “.

Perhaps in view of this experience it is not such an exaggeration to compare some organisations to the Hulk.

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