The Workplace Conundrum: How to Create a Winning Work Culture
We all plan to spend the weekend in retrospection, introspection, and realigning our goals. Sounds great! But how many of you spent it binge-watching a series, instead? Be assured, you’re not the only one who has had such deviations in plans recently, thanks to the OTT platforms. Although we might be a little late in catching the Squid Game fever, this article is a complete reflection of one such guilt trip for hours on it! Why not put it to better use? So here it is!
OTT has become such an integral part of our lives now. Owing to the pandemic, it just got accelerated. Creating content has undoubtedly surged in the last few years. According to London-based Omdia’s report on “India: Online Video Trends and Omdia Consumer Research Highlights”, Disney + Hotstar leads the pack in India with about 300 million active users, enjoying a grand 41% market share, followed by Amazon Prime Video at 9% and Netflix at 7%. The statistics are only to draw a broader picture of the current media consumption in this context. The following content is, however, on a few interesting conclusions drawn from Squid Game, that could be juxtaposed with our work environments and life. The Great Resignation being the buzzword today, it’s time to look within, and find solutions.
First, a Brief without Spoilers
Squid Game is a South Korean series that can give you both the chill and thrill across its nine episodes. Each episode is for about an hour, and they teleport you to a fantasy world with enigmatic games.
Now, a few key takeaways.
Success and Failure
Across all the episodes, it is beautiful to experience the transformation of the definition of success and failure. We often associate success with tangible achievements in life. And failure is considered an antonym of it in our lexicon. Squid Game gives you interesting insights into both, and both those definitions are proven wrong. For starters, success is not absolute. It depends on the circumstances and your rigor at any level. The same principles that made you successful in one space and time will not be applicable in the other. In some episodes, money, the quantity of which we directly equate with success, is found futile in a player’s circumstances. This is where failure is introduced as the best teacher. It strengthens you and hones you to deliver your next best. The players continuously learn from all the miscalculated earlier steps. Above all, your intuition and faith in yourself will either make or break you.
Big disclaimer here: There is no best team! We constantly search for the best performer or performers to be part of our team. We have immense faith in the potential of one or two in the entire team and expect the others to follow suit or be inspired. That is an apt recipe for a workplace funeral. Instead, Squid Game elucidates very interesting concepts of teamwork. It is a game, a competition. But the players meander from playing only for themselves to playing with others to succeed. And this equation keeps changing in every episode. You need to be aware of what you are excellent at. Build and be confident of your knowledge reservoir. Also, be mindful of your weaknesses of each other, to have each other’s back whenever required. In one episode, the players are asked to choose their team, only to reveal later that the chosen one is an opponent, not a partner. A good team will always be prepared irrespective of the circumstances. The episodes are a nerve-wracking mélange of catastrophe and camaraderie in the same frame.
How far can we go without empathy? It’s a rhetorical question, and the obvious answer is, not too far. You may win, and win consistently, but if that instills in you the vices of ego and arrogance, success might be short-lived. In the Squid Game, while few players are portrayed with a larger hemisphere of arrogance, malice, and poor demeanor, many others are written with the ink of empathy. The audience cannot help but pray for their victories at the end. Empathy is often the most obvious but the most lacking of all human attributes in today’s world. At a time when we have all become one unit globally, emerging with similar lessons from the pandemic, it is time we become empathetic towards each other, especially at our workplace. Finishing a task anyhow should be replaced with completing the task together, considering all possible concerns of others. The common goal for all players was to win the enormous sum of money, but the winner was ultimately the one whose only or probably the most superior strength till the end was empathy.
Ogilvy said, “Encourage Innovation, change is our lifeblood, stagnation is our death knell.” It was exemplified well in the Squid Game. We live in a very agile world where change is not just a constant but a variable too. In order to keep up with the velocity of change, you need to innovate at every step. The players in Squid Game only knew the trophy amount, not the rules or content of each game and level. The key to success was to innovate at every step. The fascinating part was when innovation was at play at a time that most players considered for respite. What ideally could have eliminated one player became a deadly strength and a pattern for a few quick wins for the rest of the episodes. To innovate, keep yourself wide awake constantly to the technological and other advancements around you. Evolution is currently going exponential.
Significance of Time
Finally, one unit of measurement that many fail to measure correctly is time. In Squid Game, every game is timed, and so are the players’ lives. This is very clearly established in the first episode itself. Even a frame of a second of delay results in the elimination of players. To break it down to a shorter, meaningful, and consumable bite, time is indispensable! No matter what you aim to achieve if you haven’t translated your daily hours into productive ones, your goal might just end up being a mirage. An interesting thing to notice in the episodes is how the players either chase or team up with each other while competing at the same time, only because the clock was ticking loud and clear. That clock was what decided the fate of the players at every game. We need that clock in each of us. We become complacent quickly after a few wins at a personal or team level. That leads to eventual delays and losses. The timely execution of even the simplest of tasks will lead to more significant achievements.
With that, we conclude our thoughts. This article is not an endorsement for Squid Game. It is our take on it. It might lead to the consumption of some hours, but there is a lot of learning that can happen on a personal front. It is up to your perception! Will you be the winner, or will you be eliminated? (Not in the context of Squid Game, though! 😉) It’s up to you!
P.S. Beware of the brutal scenes.