07.12.2017 - READING TIME: 2 minutes
How to become better at addressing employee needs? Play tetris.
Author: Mustafa Šuvalija
Figuring out how to accommodate different, and at time conflicting, employee needs and requests is quite like fitting together different Tetris shapes. In Tetris, there are no "right" or "wrong" shapes, there are only shapes which are positioned optimally or sub-optimally in relation to the existing architecture, which you created with pieces you've previously been dealt. The more time you have to rotate the shape and think about how its positioning will affect the overall structure, the better decision on how to fit it will be. The more successful you are at fitting together different shapes, the lesser the build-up and larger the space in which to accommodate incoming shapes.
On the other hand, every shape you put in the wrong place becomes a future liability, making it difficult for you to fit the new shapes in their right place. Ignoring a shape will not make it go away; if you let it fall wherever it may, it will still affect the entire structure, most likely in an adverse manner. And the more you persist and the better you become at fitting the shapes together, the greater the speed at which they arrive will become. At one point, even the best players build up too many mistakes and run out of space for fitting in new shapes, and they have to start from scratch.
So what lessons could managers learn if they were to play some serious Tetris? Do not pretend like all of your employees are the same or that they'll harmoniously self-organize if you just let them be. Consider your employees' needs and requests from every angle and their potential impact on the existing environment before you make a decision on how to accommodate them. Understand that the better you become at handling your employees' requests, the more confidence they will have in your ability to address their needs and more requests will be channeled your way. Finally, be prepared to, at one point, admit that the system you've built is unable to accommodate everyone and that you may need to rebuild it from scratch.
Enough to get you playing?