Fall 2010

This fall it seems that all that old is new again or is at least re-envisioned. My favorites are Hawaii Five-0 and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. With Hawaii Five-0, they’re using the same basic characters but with an updated look and feel. Wall Street the sequel is Gordon Gekko 23 years later.

We’ve been doing our own version of old-is-new here at Aspire. You’ve seen the new incarnation of The Channel. It is my Hawaii Five-0 – same information but new packaging. A similar oldy but a goody that is relevant is an old Harvard Business Review article and a blog I wrote on The Ikea Effect: When Labor Leads to Love, where I pondered reasons why clients might be satisfied with an unsatisfactory implementation. I had 3 thoughts: 1) the lump of coal is better than nothing, 2) The Ikea Effect or 3) Battered Client Syndrome (BCS).

My concept of Battered Client Syndrome is a lot like Stockholm Syndrome.

Stockholm Syndrome a term used to describe a paradoxical psychological phenomena where hostages mistake a lack of abuse from their captors as an act of kindness. BCS occurs when a client express positive feelings towards their captors (i.e. implementation partners) that is irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the clients. The following are necessary to be considered BCS:

  • The Client view their implementation partners as delivering success by not failing miserably
  • The Client endures isolation from other possible vendors and has only their current partner’s perspective available. Perpetrators routinely keep information about the outside world’s response to their actions from The Client to keep them totally dependent
  • The Client has their contracts, pay bonuses, and potential careers threatened by their partner. The Client judges it safer to align with the perpetrator, endure the hardship of captivity, and comply with the Partner than to resist and face political suicide
  • The Client sees the perpetrator as showing some degree of kindness, via some free consulting hours or some free long term support post Go-Live. Kindness serves as the cornerstone of BCS syndrome; the condition will not develop unless the captor exhibits it in some form toward the hostage. However, The Client can often misinterpret a lack of abuse as kindness and may develop feelings of appreciation for this perceived benevolence. If the captor is purely evil and abusive, the hostage will respond with hatred. But, if perpetrators show some kindness, The Client will submerge the anger they feel in response to terror and concentrate on the captor’s “good side” to protect themselves

If you have any of these symptoms, contact me, I will have our implementation psychologists work with you on a short term therapy plan.

About joehillesheim

Founder and President of Aspire HR, Inc.
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