Thursday, January 10, 2013

Old Guard, New Guard

Any company that's been around for a while will find itself with an "old guard" and a "new guard." In a post titled The Process Myth, Rands In Repose provides definitions and explains why this dichotomy can pose a problem:

The Old Guard...have been there for what seems like forever. They understand the culture and the values because they’ve been living and breathing them. They have a well-defined internal map of the different parts of the company that consist of the rest of the Old Guard. Whether they like it or not, they are the exemplars of what the company values.

The New Guard...have arrived in the last year and while they understand that there is culture and there are values out there, they spend a lot of time confused about these topics because no one has taken the time to sit them down and explain them and the folks who are qualified to do so are busy keeping the ship pointed in the right direction. This situation is exacerbated by the fact they don’t have an internal map of the company in their head and they don’t know who to ask what, so once their honeymoon period is over, they get angry because they don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing.

...the Old Guard can’t conceive of a universe where everyone doesn’t know everything, and they have difficulty explaining what they find obvious. The Old Guard begins to hear the New Guard’s crankiness, but their suggestion is, “Duh, fix it. It’s your company. That’s what I did.” This useless platitude only enrages the New Guard because while they desperately want to fix it - they don’t know how - and having the Old Guard with their informed confidence and flippancy imply it’s simple is maddening.

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