The Corporate Jungle and The Corporate Zoo

The Corporate Zoo

Most of us are familiar with the term Corporate Jungle due to the politics involved in every company. Some politics can be quite vicious and damaging to the company as there will always be casualty just like what is happening in the jungle.

However, not every organization or corporation is a Corporate Jungle. Due to certain level of success over the years, some companies have slowly transformed into a Corporate Zoo. There are some organizations that were set up to be Corporate Zoo from the beginning.

Companies that have transformed into corporate zoo could have started off as a company trying to survive. Most of the initial group of people are highly motivated to make sure the company succeed. Once the company reach a certain level of achievements accumulating sufficient cash reserves or after going public, many of the top management and early employees begin to slow down and become complacent. Slowly but surely the transformation will begin.

Just like animals living in the zoo, they do not need to hunt for food. Most lost their ability and instinct to hunt. If anyone try to put a lion born and grew up in the zoo back into the wild, the lion will most likely die due to the lack of ability to hunt.

Corporate Zoo corporations are set up to maintain systems and not set up for any marketplace competition. Employees working there must be mentally prepared that though they have good job security, stable monthly salary, they must be mentally prepared that there might not be many promotion opportunities. We still need such organizations around the world to maintain systems.

The Top Management Challenge

Top management leaders running business corporations needs to balance the organization somewhere between the corporate jungle and the corporate zoo. Companies need to give employees some level of security, some amount of comfort and some certainty that their hard work will be rewarded.

On the other hand, we also need our employees to remain hungry for higher level of success, to remain enthusiastic to bring the company into greater heights and to stay competitive in the face of a fast changing business environment.

When employees are overly aggressive, sometimes they tend to focus too much on outdoing each other and there might be a lot infighting. We need to turn their energy and attention to the outside competition, not the internal battles.

The Pay and The Bonus

Most top management love to reward their hardworking employees generously. Once the company is doing well, let’s pay our staffs above the market rate, so that we can keep them for a long time. Be forewarned, overpaying employees is one sure way to start turning your company into a corporate zoo.

To keep them competitive, do not pay them well, reward them well. Let me explain, divide the pay package into 2 portions:

1. The basic pay

2. The monthly performance bonus

Keep the basic pay just slightly below the market rate. This will cause a sense of dissatisfaction and creates the desire to want to outdo their competitors in other companies in order to earn more.

When the team and company achieves monthly performance target, reward everyone generously in the monthly performance bonus so that when they combine the pay and bonus, what they receive is way above the market norm.

In this way, companies retain competitiveness as everyone has to remain in the hunt continuously. The hunt for continuous creativity and innovation; the hunt for producing better products and providing better services; the hunt for improving process and reducing waste; the hunt for increasing sales and creating greater customer satisfaction; the hunt for quality leaders, better managers and stronger team synergy. The hunt continues!

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