5 signs your Team Culture is in trouble

Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is a famous quotation attributed to the late business management guru Peter Drucker and made famous by Mark Fields, President at Ford.

Drucker certainly believed that a company’s culture normally hinders any attempt to create or enforce a strategy that is incompatible with that culture. So if you want to avoid becoming a casualty, what should you watch out for? Here are 5 signs that could well mean your best laid plans are about to become worthless:

#1 Micro-management

The primary cause of micro-management is lack of trust. Yes, some personalities love to control things more than others. but even these controlling personalities will let go if they can authentically trust that someone will do what they say they will, when they said they would do it. Trust is the currency used in every transaction in a business. Without it, you are bankrupt even if it looks like stuff is getting done.

#2 Individualism

When people are stressed or sense threat, they will instinctively place their own immediate needs ahead of the needs of others. They will go on their own, doing things their way, in their time, just so that they feel that they can cope. This could have a significant impact on both how things are done and the timeframes in which they are done. More importantly, it hinders collegiality and creativity while empowering strong personalities to dominate the environment, shutting down the quieter voices.

#3 Resentment

Resentment is the slow poison that affects the normal functionality of any group of people. Resentment is generated when expectations are not met. It is always personal and is aimed at a person. Resentment is an inevitable part of daily life, but if unchecked and not managed, can accumulate over time, like the silting of a river.  Then one day, a genuinely small, inconsequential event can result in a cataclysmic outcome. This is because resentment generates a break in the trust between two people, so there is no bond, there is nothing to hold the team together under pressure. The big problem is, that to the untrained eye, the only way you discover this, is in hindsight.

#4 Little generosity

Generosity is the oil that lubricates the complex relationships that naturally exist between diverse personalities. It is the give and take that is needed to accommodate the impact of the unique nature of each person. Lose this generosity and your engine will sieze. Danger signs include tick boxing, only doing what is required, strict adherence to KPI’s and bureaucracy. Generosity is created through a shared sense of purpose. The quickest way to lose it then is to forget why you do what you do.

#5 Reactivity

Understanding, focusing on and then precisely executing what is needed to achieve an outcome, are critical components of success. Human beings, however, are emotional animals, and emotion has the nasty habit of overriding logic. In other words, emotion will generate an instant response that makes sense at the time but will in all likelihood will not take into account the big picture. If your people do not have the self knowledge to understand what triggers an emotional response, then they will not be able to discern between a reaction and an intelligent decision. Reactivity literally hijacks great intention. So if you suddenly find yourself in a different place to what you expected, there is a strong possibility that a reaction has got you there.

Any organisation’s culture can be defined by the set of accepted behaviours within that organisation. These 5 behaviours are very subtle and not necessarily easy to pick up, but they will affect your culture and by implication, the way things are done. Taking time to understand how to identify these behaviours, could be the difference between winning and losing.


by | Oct 19, 2018 | Uncategorized