Dear Dark Lord: My Quarry Slaves Aren't "All In" on Our Quarry's Mission
This generation refuses to enjoy breaking rocks
Dear Dark Lord,
I oversee one of the Realm’s largest quarries. We provide stone for trebuchet projectiles, evil lair construction, and even some specialty executioners’ stone for chopping blocks. If there’s something evil going on, you can bet you’ll find some of our fine product nearby.
But no matter how much I exhort our quarry’s contributions to the greater evil, no matter how much I try to inspire my
prisoners employees, they just aren’t motivated to work. I’m starting to feel like my quarry slaves aren’t “all in” on our quarry’s mission.
I don’t know if it’s my leadership style or a problem with this generation of quarry slaves. There seems to be a general cultural malaise amongst my employees who were recently captured in war or otherwise torn from their homes then thrown in my quarry to break rocks until they die.
Back in the day, if one of my quarry slaves wasn’t breaking rocks fast enough, one of my whip guys could whip them back into shape in no time. A couple lashes and they’d be breaking rocks like their life depended on it. (It did.) Now, when I bust out the whip, I just get an eye roll and a sarcastic “Ooh, here comes the quarrymaster with the whip again” kind of look. I’ve tried everything to get them to work harder: bigger whips, colourful whips, whips with personalized tips. Nothing seems to inspire them to really take ownership of their rock-breaking duties.
Our quarry’s mission statement has three core tenets:
Provide high quality stone at low cost to the Realm’s evilest enterprises.
Don’t pay our employees or treat them with any modicum of dignity.
Excellent customer service.
Most of our quarry slaves seem to be okay with tenets 1 and 3, but I can’t seem to get them onboard with number 2. (Note: I am not complaining about our customer service slaves. They’re doing great work.)
How can I motivate my quarry slaves to truly believe in our quarry’s mission? Is it possible to imbue this generation of quarry slaves with respect for quarry culture, or am I fighting a losing battle?
Worried in the Quarry
Dear Worried in the Quarry,
One thing I’ve noticed is that when all of the quarry slaves on a team aren’t onboard with the mission, the problem is not the quarry slaves, but the quarrymaster. You may need to take a deep look at your quarry’s culture and your own leadership. Ask yourself:
Have you clearly communicated the quarry’s mission in a language your quarry slaves understand? Remember, you’ve captured your employees as war prisoners from any number of barbarian tribes, and they likely speak a variety of heathen tongues. It will take time for them to learn all the acronyms and quarry jargon of this business. So communicate clearly, and be patient if they don’t understand that BOGSABR stands for a Bunch Of Guys Standing Around Breaking Rocks.
How is performance incentivized? If a quarry slave works particularly hard and regularly exceeds rock-breaking quota, reward their high performance with an extra piece of rock for dinner.
Are you holding daily two-hour meetings at sunset to reiterate your quarry’s mission? Nothing inspires employees quite like mandatory meetings at the end of the day to proselytize management’s vision. You really need to drill into their thick skulls that they will believe in the quarry’s mission or else.
Do you properly brainwash new employees into your quarry’s culture after you rip them from their homes? An important part of the onboarding process is brainwashing your employees into believing your quarry’s culture is the only true way. If you’re not manipulating their impressionable minds from day one, it might be time to revamp your recruiting and onboarding processes.
Are your employees aligned to their skillsets and career goals? Some people are good at breaking big rocks. Others are good at breaking small rocks. Still others are good at carrying rocks from one side of the quarry to the other then back for no reason whatsoever. Make sure your quarry slaves are in the right roles, and that these are aligned with their long term career goals. As long as their career goals are quarry-related.
All of these things will go a long way towards improving your quarry’s culture. But perhaps the biggest way to improve culture is the Culture Monster. Basically, this is a large monster that eats everyone who is not aligned with your organization’s culture. Nothing inspires an employee to get onboard with a company’s vision more than a horrifying monster that will literally rip them limb from limb if they don’t.
Trust me, this thing is terrifying.
A wise man once said, “The Culture Monster eats the Strategy Monster for breakfast.” It eats your undesirable employees, too. It also ate an entire company once but that was a contractual oversight. The Culture Monster doesn’t come cheap. It charges a hefty consulting fee, but it’ll be worth it once all of your quarry slaves who were a poor cultural fit are in its belly.
Putrid dogflesh unto thee,
Dark Lord Dörgu Bøgerleshk, Bane of the Nrymbobl, Usurper of Forlorn Souls, Blood Govourner of the Flaming Infernal Swamplands
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Dear Dark Lord letters:
Dear Dark Lord #12: What Is a ‘Living Wage’ and Why Do My Minions Keep Asking for One?
Dear Dark Lord #11: My Wife Wants to Turn Our Dungeon Into an In-law Suite
Dear Dark Lord #10: The Mutant Warriors I Spawned from the Fires of Yggnorøth No Longer Call Me “Father”
Dear Dark Lord #9: I Just Found Out That “Evil” Means We’re the Bad Guys
Dear Dark Lord #8: Henchmen These Days Aren’t as Blindly Obedient as They Used to Be
Dear Dark Lord #6: My Eunuch Slave Army Gave Me a Negative Work Climate Survey
What's old is new again. the series of letters to Dark Lord should be a Introduction to Management textbook.