As well as saying thank you could give a small tip. I’m not talking about in the restaurant, hairdressers or taxi, the places most of us give a tip. I’m talking about in the office. This new idea is to tip work colleagues. Basically the boss gives you a small amount of bonus points or tips to issue each month to anyone you work with. The idea is to make colleagues feel appreciated and promote a positive work environment. You make me a cup of coffee I say thanks and give you a small tip. The techy on the IT help line unfreezes my computer with out making me feel foolish, I tip them. HR help me dig myself out of the hole I created and I avoid a formal grievance. I say thank you and give a small tip.
I can’t see this idea working in any place I have worked. My colleagues would view a tip as condescending, admin would get competitive, people would get upset when they didn’t get a tip, there would be no agreement on when to tip and how much. By the end of the month most people would have spent their tip budget so would have nothing left to give to the person who was extra helpful, so nobody would be.
But the really interesting thing was not this latest rather irrelevant wacky idea from the West Coast but the job title of the person asked to explain and comment on it to the wider audience. This person was introduced as a business psychologist without further explanation as if we were all familiar with this profession, their role and the insights they can offer. As this was the BBC flagship morning news programme clearly it’s a real job not a made up one.
A business psychologist or organisation psychologist (they appear to be the same) is someone who specialises in making organisations and individuals more effective. This is not the first time I have come across one but it is the first time in the real world. The previous time it was as a central character in a US block bursted called Billions about rivalries, empire building and insider trading in the world of high finance. A business psychologist is brought in to help a successful trader get his mojo back! She works one to one, psyching the boss up for big meetings, identifying who has what it takes to survive and thrive in this high pressure environment. She gives the boss his edge in negotiations with competitors and the politicking with colleagues by accurately predicting how rivals will think ,feel ,behave and react. Expertise for which she is paid mind bogglingly large sums.
All of which made me assume such characters were fictional and the role of business psychologist didn’t exist outside of tv land and possibly New York. After all this doesn’t sound like anyone in the HR departments I have worked with or the management consultants I have used, who tended to stick to administering psycho metric testing, developing appraisal systems or facilitating some leadership development courses.
However following an internet search I discovered many universities offering business psychology or organisational psychology courses which aim to give students the scientifically based knowledge to turn organisation and individuals into what the Americans would call “ winners”.
Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk