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Thursday, 27 April 2017 05:08

Frustration Culture When Actions and Principles Don't Align

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This content is from the TenStep weekly "tips" email dated 2017.26.4

Frustration Culture
When Actions and Principles Don't Align

Believe it or not, there are many fine companies in the world that have great products and treat their employees well. There are also many companies that are just plain rotten. Of course, most companies fall somewhere in the middle.

One of the reasons that employees don’t like working at their companies is that their companies are not intellectually honest with them. They say one thing and do another thing. They have lofty ideals or principles on paper, but they do not follow through and actually implement policies and processes to back up their words.

“Frustration Culture”

In a broad sense, the term culture refers to “how we do things around here.” Culture refers to the formal and informal policies and procedures that define how you do your job. This includes how you relate to your managers, peers and clients.

The term “frustration culture” can be used to describe the way employees feel when a company’s actions don’t follow their words because frustration is the most common feeling that people have in those circumstances.

Here is an example to see how this happens. Company A is a consulting company with a fine Mission Statement that explains that their people are their number one asset and that they invest in their staff to ensure they are well trained and capable. However, in reality, it appears that people are their number one asset only while profits are strong. When profits fall, training and employee development are the first things to be cut.

Company A is an example of a place with a frustration culture. Their problem is that they say one thing and do another. Their literature talks about their commitment to employees, but that commitment is only an inch deep when company profits are on the line.

Good companies usually tell you up-front what is important to them and, in fact, try to follow through on those commitments. They tend to set and manage expectations very well.

Managers should honestly evaluate their company’s actions and words. This includes their own personal actions and words. If the words don’t match up with the actions, then lobby for change. Each manager has a limited ability to change the entire culture, but they can start be changing their own organization. Start the change now. Start in your own organization, then look for ways to move it outward.
At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit or contact us at
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