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Disruptors and Grey Eminences

How many times have overperforming employees heard at their workplace that one of the reasons their wages cannot be increased is that it would cause tension? And of course, there is nothing else to do in this case but accept that there are limits to everything. If we are working at a company, the limits are established, and there is no need for “unnecessary” conflict. However, along with traditional theories, this is also being challenged by the pandemic crisis, and the best employers have started working towards finding a way to clearly differentiate key personnel from the rest.


When we are new to an organisation, it is important to fit in. This is what the basic principles state, at least. But what do we really mean by fitting in? This largely depends on the position and role in question, as well as the relevant requirements. But if one is being hired as a manager or senior manager at a workplace, the role necessitates bringing momentum and approaches to the organisation (whether this is stated in the job description or not). This is why we look for new colleagues, isn’t it? Of course, there are roles where tasks simply need to be completed “by the book” instead of saving the world. However, the pandemic clearly shows that roles previously listed among these can be exceptionally important and significant losses can occur if these tasks are not given to the right person. This means that when we are talking about fitting in, we are not exactly thinking of the dictionary definition of the term. Or quite often, and unfortunately, we are. Since it would probably be the best if our new colleague brought a large amount of new energy to our company but of course nothing else would change in our company culture; everyone else continued doing their job just like before. However, as the saying goes, “one swallow does not make a summer”, which means that this new colleague will have to gather supporters if they really take their role in bringing change seriously and then they are able to initiate some real changes. By doing so, they are able to take the company to a whole new level, meaning that they will have a significant role in the development of the enterprise. Even colleagues who have been working there for a long time only follow in the track of this new colleague and start moving thanks to them in this case. It is a difficult task for management to decide how to differentiate between wages in such a situation. Since if we hire someone with the specific goal of acting as the one who will right all wrongs, we will have to reflect this in their wages. However, this could cause immediate tension inside the company. And it is not good to work in an environment where everyone is rooting for the new colleague to fail. Therefore, most large corporations avoid these types of “disruptors”. They prefer not to bring them on board. Even when many multinational companies have begun “playing start-up” and look specifically for colleagues who will singlehandedly save the world. Unfortunately, however, they tried to push both their products and their managers into the role of grey eminences too fast. And some gave in, and some fled.

2021 and Wage-Related Tensions

The question of why we actually have to be so afraid of wage-related tensions has already been brought up by the management of several large corporations. Why is it a problem if we clearly express that some are just better than others? This is a natural thing in sports. It is accepted in education. Why is it an issue in the profit-oriented environment of business? I am not talking about non-profit and charitable institutions but companies that aim to make a profit in particular. Why is it so painful for a director to see another earn more than them? There is a simple explanation. Several experts claim that this is only an issue where there are no clear performance control measures in place, where it is possible to hide behind the performance of others and live off the grand “shared” concepts. Since where the performance tracking and feedback processes are clear, including the associated reward and penalty systems, this cannot be an issue since those who do better already earn more. It is simple when written down like this, isn’t it? And why has this all come up just now? Because during a crisis, only those companies can survive and grow that have their “disruptors”. But as we saw, their onboarding does require a transparent, and truly transparent, performance evaluation process. This is the system that needs to be developed first in order to allow companies to put together good teams and ensure that their staff does not consist of grey eminences and nothing else.