Home > business > Tit me, Tat you… (Part 2/2)

Tit me, Tat you… (Part 2/2)


Continuing from my previous post, and overlooking the fact that no one brought any milk, let’s talk about cookies and the case of Mrs. Ioanna Papadopoulou; the CEO of one of the most successful FMCG groups in Greece. Papadopoulos S.A (informally founded in 1916), is a company immensely famous for its biscuits both in Greece and the world. During the ’90s and the ’00s the company has been growing even faster with its EBT reaching €14 million in 2009. Since last December, the company also happens to be on the spotlight thanks to a very unconventional move by its charismatic CEO. Mrs. Papadopoulou, contrary to “rational” policies other directors have followed amidst the crisis, decided to not only embrace her employees but also empower them. This made Papadopoulos S.A. the only company, of its caliber, to raise the salaries of ALL its 800 employees and fire NONE.

Now imagine that you work for a big company. A friend of yours happens to work in another department and is on a really tight schedule with a deadline for today. You on the other hand, being the organized and successful type, have barely noticeable deadlines in the horizon; pretty manageable. It is only natural to expect that your colleague asks for your help, especially if he knows you can help. In a situation like this, nothing (if we completely disregard office politics) can “make” you help him. It is up to you to decide whether or not you will allocate some of your ample time and readily available resources to help him with his deadline. I would have to digress quite a bit to explain what would happen if you decided not to help him, so I will just go ahead and claim your first good deed for the day myself; you help your colleague, he meets his deadline, and you become the hero of the day. But is it only for a day?

Although such an action is completely undocumented, your colleague will “owe you one” under normal and humane circumstances. If he does not, he will just find himself hindered by office politics in the future (I could promise writing about Markets’ Black Lists later on, right about now).

There is no reason why you shouldn’t help to begin with. By tatting for someone when you do have most of your resources untapped you do expect him to tit for you at a time when maybe he will be in the same “position of power” you were when you lent a hand. It’s an investment that many people can’t see clearly and by not investing in the right people/staff/companies at the right time usually miss great and valuable returns.

Reading about Mrs. Papadopoulou’s action in the news, got me thinking about giveth and taketh a lot. When people are so immensely lost into the emotional part of the whole story they forget that everything, and I really mean everything, happens for a reason in business. Many journalists called it “social dividend,” I just feel better calling it tit-for-tat. By investing in her own people in a time of need and when Mrs. Papadopoulou and her company are strong enough, she plays her cards right in a tit-for-tat sense. By giving, and knowing that most of her employees will respect her kind move, she knows that she can “reclaim balance” in this iterated prisoner’s dilemma by calling for that favor any time in the future.

Have you played a “game” of tit-for-tat lately? Has the company you work for? What are your thoughts?

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  1. February 22, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    To be fair though, Mrs Papadopoulou had cash to spare and the board behind it. Companies don’t resort to amputation because they like it(sadomasochists) but in order to survive.

    • Yannis Patras
      February 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

      This is indeed true and also proves she really is in a better position and able to “tit.” When, and if, the returns show up we will also know if this was a good investment. In addition, I really wanted to avoid this, I can’t quite make my self admit that such kind of an investment happens “just cause they like it.” This is why I stress that I really believe that everything happens for a reason in business.

  1. February 22, 2011 at 8:51 pm

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