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Redundancy is a necessity for creating fail-safe, fool-proof systems. And it has become a necessity even in modern-day organization structures. With the ongoing war for talent, with organizations ready to out-spend the other, leaders have to create people redundancies. But let us look at what we mean by redundancy here first:
“In engineering, redundancy is the duplication of critical components or functions of a system with the intention of increasing reliability of the system, usually in the form of a backup or fail-safe, or to improve actual system performance, such as in the case of GNSS receivers, or multi-threaded computer processing.”
NOTE: In this blog post, redundancy does not refer to the negative situation when an employer lets go off an employee because the organization does not require that organizational position anymore. It is being used in the positive way engineering solutions provider use it.
Damon is a top performer working in a construction company. He joined the organization as a trainee. He was groomed to be an exceptional site engineer, and he is a senior site engineer now with immense knowledge about project and construction management in the field. His level of expertise and rapport with the workmen is such that he can work even from his home now by giving instruction over the phone.
It has been 5 years now and he wants to get into the planning and strategy side of the business. His bosses do not want to lose an exceptional site engineer because there are so few technically sound people willing to work in the site these days. They turn a deaf ear to his career expectations.
Damon starts hunting for a job soon and gets an offer from a civil engineering consultancy firm. He gets a salary hike of 80% and the profile he wanted. His previous organization loses a great talent, finds it hard to replace him and their leadership pipeline is weakened. So, we see a stark contrast here: Damon’s win-win versus the organization’s lose-lose.
Who is to blame?
Damon’s bosses blamed it on Damon and justified why he left the organization. They blamed it on Damon’s replacement when she could not perform as well as Damon. Of course, they avoided the entire topic of succession planning, transfer of responsibilities and tacit knowledge.
Damon reviewed his previous organization on GlassDoor. He said that it was a great place to start your career in but not one where one should ideally stagnate in. His review was not the only one. It was one of the many. This discouraged the best from applying or even if they applied and became a part of the organization, they came with a time frame of 2-3 years in mind – learn and exit.
Damon’s previous organization had become a training ground where they prepared talent for their competitors to poach. They also poached talent from their competitors but every one of them was sure not to spend more than 5 years there, because there was zero job-rotation and pure stagnation after a few years. No doubt the solid citizens remained.
But was that enough!
Power relations are dynamic.
Most imagine power relations to be static. They believe that the powerful shall remain powerful always irrespective of the time and space they operate in. But this could not be further than the truth. Power relations are evolving constantly. Depending on the behavior of certain variables, power relations change and the ones who can take note of these changes, stand to benefit.
The Importance of Space
In a nation with high power distance and bureaucratic interventions, the bureaucrats would naturally hold more power. But the bureaucrats would not hold the same level of power in a developed country where all benefits are transferred online to its citizens and the scope to use discretionary power is limited.
Further, the importance of space in power relations can easily be understood by us when we are stopped by a security guard of a building complex who has been authorized not through a legal dictate but just by the dictate of the dwellers to inquire the nature of business and destination from every visitor. You might be more educated and in a better position in society, but right at that space, at that moment, the guard holds power over you, which brings us to:
The Importance of Time
The Guard would hold more power over you if it is in the middle of night rather than in the morning hours.
A union leader would have more power over the management of an organization in a year marked with unfortunate accidents. The police would have more power in a state of emergency rather than in times of peace. Isn’t it wonderful how differently we can look at the variables themselves?
Time can also be looked at through lens of time-period or a fast approaching deadline. The party whose deadline is nearer would be keener to come to a solution and thus, yield some power to their opponent.
The Importance of Relation
This sounds apparent. But often we forget that power relations depend a lot on how much intertwined both the parties are. How dependent are they on each other? How frequently do they have to deal with each other? If there is no dependency, the chances of conflict would be minimal.
But in a globalized world, can there be any two persons with no mutual dependency? Maybe this is one of the reason why conflicts around the world are increasing at such a rate!
What other variables do you think affect power relations? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Amartya Dey, India
Other Articles by the Author:
- The First Rule of Negotiation
- Human Aspect: Beware of the Exceptional Employee
- Human Aspect: Importance of Precedent
- Two Levers: Potential & Tacit Knowledge (Part I)
- Breaking Organizational Silos (Part I)
- Breaking Organizational Silos (Part II)
- Working More than 12 Hours?
- The Abuse of the 360º Feedback System