Tuesday, August 14, 2012

House of Cards

Sometimes rainy days make me think of being a kid stuck in the house with NOTHING to do.  Actually, this isn’t true – I relished the idea of being able to sit around and read or play board games.  But sometimes even that would get old, so I would pull out a deck of cards and endeavour to make the tallest house of cards that I could.
Handling cards and arranging them into a tower is an art.  You had to ensure that the base wasn’t too slippery (carpet worked well) and you had to use really worn cards…preferably sticky from overuse (yeah…gross, I know).
Then you started building layer by layer until you got to the point where you literally had to hold your breath as you placed each card.  And heaven help the idiot that inadvertently created air movement within a 2 metre radius of the structure.
At some point a card would give in the middle layer and I would try to reposition it or remove it without affecting the overall structure.  And you could get away with this with one or two cards, but beyond that the house of cards became too unstable and collapsed, leaving you with a pile of cards to clean up.
Good times.
So yesterday I found myself across the desk from a colleague staring at a new proposed org chart and it hit me that this org chart had a striking resemblance to a house of cards.  And it struck me that the management team was playing a similar game…adding layers and forbidding anyone from coming near the table.
Now, I may only be in HR; however,  I understand operational needs, but more importantly I understand consequences.  And the reality is that you can only re-position, remove, and restrict so much before you weaken the structure.
 Because despite being really worn (and potentially sticky) these are people, not cards.  And 52 pick-up is not the same game when you have to consider legal, termination, and severance.

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