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A Company Isn’t A Family: It’s An Alliance


Usually, particularly in retail chains, it is not uncommon for the idea of a corporation being like a family, to be mentioned, particularly when attempting to coerce prospective employees to hand in applications for a vacancy.


It is also not uncommon for a number of these establishments, to actively be recruiting at what appears to be an almost constant basis.


Many viral social media posts have been made to demonstrate the extent to which a company advertising their culture as family-like to be a red flag for prospective employees and plucky jobseekers, encouraging them to go out of their way to avoid companies that advertise themselves in such ways. Because, for those who have experienced the back teeth of a family-like company culture, they have felt immensely pressured to go out of their way, bend over backwards for a company that is more than willing to replace them at the drop of a hat.


Twitter user @trellymick made an articulate statement of the idea of giving more to your workplace when you know it would not be reciprocated. In his viral tweet back in 2018, he said “If you died tonight, your employer would have a job advert to fill your role by the end of the month. But your friends and family would miss you forever. Don’t get so busy on making a living that you forget to work on making a life” . Although his message differs from our point, the weight of his words cannot be understated within this context: a company would advertise for your position within a month if you were to die overnight, giving your colleagues a grace period of mourning, and processing the bereavement, before you would be replaced.

No matter how often a corporation would advertise the family-like culture of their company, if there is a missing cog in the corporate machine, it will not work as efficiently, and repairs must be made to improve production. However, you could never be replaced by your actual family.


Instead, what we propose is flipping the switch, and imagining your company as something completely different: an alliance. In combat, squad members will actively form relationships with one another as they face a common goal, or a common threat.


An alliance, is a term used to describe a group of people with a common goal, working to achieve it within their means. Therefore, it is a much better, cleaner, and less emotional way of thinking about how to tackle your company and the inner workings of such.


Think of it like playing a, very real, video game; playing war on your Playstation or Xbox. Your team grow to work well together and the shared experiences they have elevate performance in the future, and when changes occur in these circumstances, they are learned from. What Sarah Jensen Clayton proposed back in early 2021, in order to better handle changes in the workplace was that “to eliminate friction and delays, the group of internal and external experts will also need to quickly align on guiding principles and open a physical or virtual “war room” to drive collaboration.” She stressed the importance of teamwork. Nobody can drive corporate success off their own back, without the support of others


Whether your employees have a passion for their work is a completely different matter entirely: however, at the end of the day, people work in order to put food on the table. With that in mind, it is imperative that the job gets done, so the staff are paid and they can have food on the table and a roof over their heads. Your team does not need to love their work to be good at it.


What this means, is similar to what was proposed by Jay Wilkinson during his talk: Jay Wilkinson: Company Culture . Wilkinson explained that a company culture, if not set in stone, will be influenced by the most vocal member of a team, whether or not their values are the same. Equally, he acknowledged in this talk that the cause of “95% of all the problems in every company every one of the companies that we work for, these people are high level performers but they don’t live the values of [the] company” . If someone were to view said high level performer as a person that is a key member of the corporate family, addressing issues that they cause, whether intentional or inadvertent, becomes significantly harder.


As encouraging as it is to see greater levels of understanding, and kinship forming amongst your workers, the term family is something laced with emotions, and riddled with means to which you can manipulate or be manipulated, knowingly or otherwise, by your colleagues.


If you are the sergeant, would you tell one of your squaddies that they’re a bad shot and need to adjust their aim? Of course. That’s a matter of survival. Well, so is working to thrive as a business in a temperamental post-pandemic economy.



Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (www.TheAgileWorks.com), is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.


He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.


The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.


To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address: arvind@theagileworks.com


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