Thursday, July 10, 2008

Territorial Games People Play

J. Michael Crouch, writing in a 1997 issue of Quality Digest, reported on a series of "Territorial Games" used in the work environment which I thought you'd enjoy. As you go about your work life, see how many of these you can spot.

The "games" are listed below by name, followed by their meaning.

Strategic Noncompliance - Agreeing upfront to take action while having no intention of taking that action, or cooperating in order to buy time to find a way of avoiding taking action; waiting until the last minute to back out.

Information Manipulation - Withholding or putting a spin on information, or covering up or giving false information; withholding or interpreting information in a way that keeps the initiative from progressing.

Occupation - Marking territory, maintaining an imposing physical presence, acting as the gatekeeper for vital information, and monopolizing relationships, resources, or information; monopolizing resources (people, time) to prevent them from being reallocated to the initiative.

Shunning - Subtly or overtly excluding an individual in a way that punishes him or her, or orchestrating a group's behavior so that someone is obviously out-group; socially excluding an individual in a way that brands him or her an outsider.

Discredit - Using personal attacks or irrelevant criti­cisms to create doubt about another person's competence or credibility.

Intimidation - Growling, yelling, glaring, or making threats to scare off an individual; using scare tactics or veiled threats to warn off perceived invaders; a “back-off” stare..

Filibuster - Using excessive verbiage to prevent action, out­talk objectors in a meeting or monopolize, and thereby exhaust, meeting time; talking long and hard enough in order to squander development time, leaving issues unresolved..

Invisible Walls - Actively instigating actions or creating counterproductive perceptions so that an argued directive will be, if not impossible, extremely difficult to implement; covertly blocking forward momentum by creating logistical impossibilities.

Camouflage - Creating a distraction, emphasizing the inconsequential, sending someone off on a wild goose chase, or deliberately triggering someone's anxiety buttons; diverting people with irrelevant issues or projects to keep them away from quality initiatives.

Powerful Alliances - Using relationships with powerful people to intimidate, impress or threaten others; engaging in name-dropping and strategic displays of influence over important decision makers.

Source: J. Michael Crouch, “Quality Turf Wars”, Quality Digest, October 1997

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