How Organizations Die From Within

An organization’s deadliest enemies are internal. How we treat each other while we face external challenges determines our ability to win.

Internal environments are more important than external issues.

you can thrive in nearly any organization if you feel you belong and your contribution matters

Organizations exist to maximize the power of diversity. We’re better together, only if we honor, develop, and harness difference.

3 ways organizations die from within:

#1. Judging others by your uniqueness rather than theirs.

You can’t maximize diversity and expect everyone to be like you. 

Intolerance produces sideways energy, or worse yet, people pulling against each other. When this happens, competitors win and customers lose.

#2. Confusion regarding your place and contribution.

You can thrive in nearly any organization if you feel you belong and your contribution matters. (Compensation aside.) This idea speaks to the value and power of leaders.

Have conversations that address questions like:

  1. What value are you bringing?
  2. What makes you feel devalued?
  3. How might we show respect to each other?
  4. How might we lessen pressure to conform? This includes celebrating constructive dissent, eliminating the trappings of power, and adapting when new ideas emerge.
  5. How might individual purpose find expression in organizational goals? (This assumes that leaders are prepared to explore purpose with team members.)

#3. Lack of shared accountability.

Problem solving, new initiatives, and project meetings are a delusional waste of time apart from shared accountability.

If we fail it’s not one person’s fault.

  1. How do you declare and define accountabilities?
  2. What happens when someone drops the ball? Is it their fault or our fault?
  3. Where is the “we” when things don’t get done? If success is the result of how we work together, so is failure.

Failing organizations are like a chicken coop. When one chicken has a flaw, the others peck at it.

In an all for one – one for all organization, one person’s failure is everyone’s failure.

What destroys organizations from within?

How might leaders address internal enemies?

Queens Young Leaders - Cambridge University