Clash of the Titles! What movie does that remind you of? Yes, Clash of the Titans.
While many of you must have seen and loved the movie, I am sure there are only some of you who may have actually been able to capture the all important moral behind its making. Which is? Well for that an overview of the movie is called for.
So what the Clash of the Titans is really about is that in ancient times, after defeating their predecessors, the Titans, the gods divided the Universe amongst themselves. Now we had this really smart fellow named Zeus, who had a bit of crooked-politician blood in him. He cleverly bestowed upon himself the title of the ‘King of the Gods’ and then set about classifying the gods according to his will. While carrying out this process, he did not feel it important enough to consider each God’s individual capabilities or what fit them best. He did so as he pleased and created a God-ical hierarchical pyramid. Finally, the humans were placed at the bottom-most level of this hierarchy.
Now the whole idea of this somewhat ‘Title Honoring’ did not sit well with anybody. Most of the ‘assistants’ and even several of their ‘deputies’ felt like they were unjustly treated and deserved better than what they had been unfairly awarded. For instance, Hades, who was in control of the underworld, certainly felt that with his ferocious underworld henchman army he could take down Zeus, who could just control the skies and maybe had the power to rain the hell out of Hades or something, and thus was the rightful king. As for the humans, they too felt that the idea of being considered as ‘cheap labor’ was going a little overboard! So, naturally, a Comedy of Errors like war broke out in which the Gods were fighting themselves and the humans were fighting the Gods, and since the humans have their own hierarchical structures it’s safe to presume they must have been fighting within themselves as well. All in all, everybody was gunning down for everybody else’s life! Seems a bit senseless, doesn’t it?
As for the moral of the story, I think you all must have developed a fair idea about what I was talking about, so yes, we are talking about the whole idea of the conventional titling system in our workplaces.
It has always seemed funny how more than the job description, it’s these job titles that have motivated us and have also been capable of making us feel like we ought to work harder than those below us in this tall structure that organizational hierarchy is with all its levels of classification. But don’t you think that it’s actually all in our minds and it’s just a method of manipulating our psychology for the better or for worse? Moreover, they may ensure that there is unity of command and effective ascertainment of authority, job responsibility and accountability for the smooth functioning of any organization. But on the flipside, as we have seen in the case of the Gods, this structure also leads to chaos, office politics and varied motivational levels. The result, therefore, is that the constantly changing structure doesn’t always do justice to the motivation and drive of those who lie at the bottom of the pyramid.
I think the informal organization faces the challenge and perils of these titles. That is why my message is to drop the titles! Drop the titles to feel equal, drop them to feel good. Feel authoritative, responsible and accountable on your own. Why does someone have to tell you to do something? Why does someone have to give you or your senior a title to have you report to him effectively? If you choose to do it on your own, who cares about the titles!
In fact, there are few ways of dropping the titles without defying them which are-
- One, you can drop them psychologically, that is, feel like the CEO or MD or Functional Head of the company, and work like one.
- Two, is a rather stringent approach where instead of or in addition to titles, you calculate the value of a person and rank him/her with respect to their performance. This is a clear indicator of who’s more valuable to the company and will instil a more positive competitive spirit into the minds of the employees while eliminating the feeling that the traditional titles aren’t well deserved, if that’s the case. This ranking is solely based on performance, and hence helps institutionalize a result-oriented environment.
- Three, based on strengths and passions, give titles to each other in a team. For instance, there could be a Chief Happiness Officer, Chief Humor Officer, Chief Dependable Officer, Chief Chiller Officer, Chief Agony Aunt, Chief Analytics Officer, Chief Talent Officer, and what not, you can create your own!
These methods will bring about a sense of friendship and togetherness in the team and the organizational structure will then be flatter. And the environment will be more encouraging and responsive to the extent that people will start feeling like they are holding two job positions, one given by the company and the other by their colleagues. This will lead to higher commitment and high motivation.
On that thought, I’d leave you to think of some intriguing titles for your team members, think crazy and share with us like crazy.