Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Alien Habitat


One afternoon she was in the office, the next day she was gone - or had been let go rather. In the few weeks that we had worked together, her disengagement from the team had become all too evident - she continued to reinforce her status of an outsider by making constant references to past projects and places of employment. This is probably just as damaging in the workplace situation as talking about past relationships is on the first date.

Over the years, I have found teams to resemble ecosystems - there is a lot of variety in terms of personality types, talent, work style and more. Yet together they define a certain type of culture - open, friendly, withdrawn, competitive, deliberate, spontaneous etc. When a new person comes on board, it works best if they have a neutral energy level almost - they are able to find the flow in their surroundings and go with it quite effortlessly. Then there are those who have the ability to tease the best out of the ecosystem. Both types are make this alien habitat they are thrown comfortable enough for them to survive (and often thrive).

And finally like her, there are those who can't seem to open their mouth without causing trouble for themselves. They (along with onlookers such as myself) are astounded by how little it takes for them to cause waves. It is like dropping a marshland creature in a desert and expecting it to make it. So it was with her - she had the right credentials, did well on the interview and came with decent references. From what we could tell, she was competent as well. The team had not spent enough time with her to understand if she was right for their habitat.

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