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“Guys, crazy money is shining for us!” How to assemble a team of pods and develop corporate culture together


“If something in life is not easy, not beautiful, not fun, then it should be immediately abandoned or redone. This rule is absolutely true for business as well “, – are sure Oleg Afanasyev and Nikolay Inyakhin, founders Interim Business Association (USA, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan). Why create a team of “pods” in a company, who they are and how to grow corporate culture with them – the experts told in the material.

Together with the Interim Business Association, we continue the rubric “Management of the company in times of change.” This column is published weekly on Wednesday. In them you will find useful information and practical advice on management.

You can find out if your company needs help in organizing more effective management right now using express diagnostics through a special bot or by going through diagnostics on the website.

Oleg Afanasyev Founder of the Interim Business Association
Oleg Afanasiev
Founder of the international organization of interim managers Interim Business Association
Nikolay Inyakhin, founder of Interim Management Group, co-founder and head of the Board of the international organization of interim managers Interim Business Association.
Nikolay Inyakhin
Co-founder of the international organization of interim managers Interim Business Association

– “Corporate culture eats strategy for breakfast!” – we all heard this phrase, but few people thought about what exactly it means. But if you look closely at the psychological climate of any company, you may one day see interesting things.

“Pods” and “antipodes”

Everyone has heard the word “antipode”. This is a person who is opposite to someone in convictions, properties, tastes. Each company has employees who do not want to live and develop according to the established rules and believe that regulations and other documents complicate life and are needed only by the management who came up with them. On the sidelines, they are promoting this thought to other employees. New employees are especially fertile ground for them.

“You don’t have to do this, you can bypass it, this is generally an unnecessary process …” – the antipodes say with conviction to beginners. Antipodes are opinion leaders for that part of the team that likes to find flaws in the current processes of the company and make fun of them. Moreover, most often they themselves do everything right so that they are not punished.

Such an environment, if not promptly neutralized, will gradually erode any corporate culture.


But if there are “antipodes”, then there must be “pods”. Where did they get lost in the jungle of the Russian language? And every company needs them so much today! And if the word “pods” existed, then we would define him as “the most helpful and best employees”.

These are positive people who have chosen for themselves a company and a job that they like because they are close to its values. They are proud to be a part of it and fully support its corporate culture. In modern terms, these are followers (followers) on which the corporate culture of all companies we know is supported: McDonald’s, The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), Mercedes-Benz, Starbucks Corporation, Marriott International, etc. They work and communicate with clients and colleagues every day and naturally, helping them solve their questions and problems or share happy moments with them.

A prime example of corporate culture from The Procter & Gamble Company: A P&G employee who is in a public place and hears the conversations of competitors containing their trade secrets, should approach them and warn them that he is an employee of a competing company. Check out the level of corporate culture rooted in the late 19th century! And this is not the only example …

Few people also thought that corporate culture needed to be “grown”. And, as they correctly say in the East, “a cultivated plant grows slowly – only weeds grow quickly.”

Easily! Handsomely! Fun, or How to Grow a Pod Team?

First, you need to accurately determine the type of personality called “antipode”, describe the portrait of a person whom you would not want to have in the team. For example, this is a cunning, lazy, greedy, selfish schemer who creates conflicts in a team.

And then think about how “under” would look like. It’s the exact opposite: an open, sincere, generous and team player who creates a good mood for everyone around him.

“Easily! Handsomely! Fun!” Is our life motto. We believe that if something in life is “not easy,” “not beautiful,” “not fun,” then it should be immediately abandoned or redone.

Better to remake than leave as is – this is what leaders do.


Take a look at Toyota’s example. When a flaw is noticed on the conveyor, they stop it and eliminate the marriage. This allows the production of machines without flaws.

And here’s an example of a pharmaceutical company. After leaving the conveyor, each batch of manufactured products is checked. If the batch does not meet the specified requirements, it is disposed of completely, and changes are made to the production process.

The employees of such companies do not think to use the logic of the famous poor student Vovka (from the movie “Vovka in the Far-away Kingdom”): “And so-a-ak will do!” Because the price of a mistake is reputation!

“If the stars are lit, then does anyone need it?”

Isn’t it a leader’s job to light the stars of his employees, look for truly talented people and help them succeed in the company? To do this, everyone just needs to find their place. For a person to burn at work, to be interested. Otherwise, one day he will turn into an “antipode” – a person who “vampires” the entire team. People “out of place” very often have character spoils. But they are not to blame: they just suffer at their unloved work.Find a job for them, and they literally bloom and become absolute “pods”. You just need the right manager (leader) nearby, who will understand where it is better to apply the talent that is still not in demand.

On this score, life examples are enough:

  • A burned out assistant to a department head can be a great employee of that department.
  • Burnt out secretary of the director of the company – head of the department
  • Burnt out B2B seller becomes an excellent B2C seller
  • A burned out accountant becomes a financier or a credit controller, etc.

Here it is appropriate to recall the postman Pechkin from Prostokvashino: “After all, why was I so angry? I didn’t have a bicycle! “

So it is in business: happy people are never evil! When the happiness of self-realization settles in a company, an amazing psychological microclimate arises that cannot be confused with anything. This is a sign of a healthy corporate culture that needs to continue to be “nurtured” by careful selection of personnel on the principle of friend or foe.

Managers need to clearly understand which of the new employees will easily “join” the team, and who may have difficulties, and it is better not to hire him initially.

How to define: “our” or “stranger”? In order to make it easier to check future employees for the coincidence of corporate values, you need to have these values. To do this, you need to “add up” the experience of positive, effective communications and describe them in five words. For instance:

  • Effectiveness
  • Honesty
  • Professionalism
  • Openness to new
  • Teamwork.

It is on these points that all interviews and tests for the candidate should be built in order not to let the “antipode”, a potential counter-leader capable of destroying the team, into the company.


“Live” case

One day at one of our clients a dilemma arose: what to do with a talented but lazy employee? He can do his job well, but he is constantly distracted, looking for a company for unproductive, “out of business” conversations and brings a spirit of doubt about the correctness of what is happening in the company.

After these conversations, my friend had to spend a lot of time trying to persuade the team that was “shaken in faith” so that it would return to work with the same enthusiasm. But each time it became more and more difficult to do it. And even the most dedicated and productive employees began to literally suffer from “feelings of injustice” at work. They lacked the positive attention of the leader, because he was busy fighting the “antipode”, and this struggle was so exhausting him that he did not have the energy left for the most important thing – to raise and cherish “stars”.

As a result, the negative employee was still fired when the manager’s patience ran out, but precious time was wasted, which he did not give to the best and most dedicated people. In such scenarios, first of all, loyal employees suffer, and the leader begins to lose his authority in the team.

“Bitter lessons” and “sweet apples”

A true leader can greatly benefit from each life story if it is “taken apart” with the team and all together to draw the appropriate “lessons”. And this must be done! Otherwise, we will not see victory “sweet apples”! How not to see high achievements in a happy team of like-minded people.

The leader is “not seven inches in the forehead”, he cannot know everything, but the team knows everything and can overcome everything. The main thing is to recruit the “right” people and build “right” relationships with them.

The “right” people are employees who immediately accepted the corporate culture and became its followers. As a rule, such employees easily go through all the adaptation and induction processes.

And then, how well the students joked in one of the KVN, – “Guys, we are shining crazy grandmothers!” And at the end of the hall stood in the dark other team members in kerchiefs, depicting those same attendants with flashlights 🙂 But the end of the joke has nothing to do with what we talked about in this article.

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Fidenge Pecold

My profession is a journalist, but my hobby for 8 years has been studying Forex investing and trading. During this time, I managed to gain extensive experience in investing and trading cryptocurrencies and double my capital in the Forex market. To be the author of this magazine, the site owners invited me to participate in one of the 2020 trading webinars, and I will try to reveal the most relevant crypto market news for you.

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