by Burl W. Randolph Jr.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand”
Mark 3:25

President Lincoln used this passage of scripture in his House Divided Speech in accepting the Republican nomination of 1858. Is your workplace a house divided? Many organizations have more than one culture operating, but do not realize it until a catastrophe occurs. Could this be your organization: Dual cultures that create split decisions? I assessed most organizations have two competing cultures: The Derailers and the Disruptors.

Derailers: Weaknesses that can stop production

Blinders: People who never see a problem until it’s too late. Yellow Submarine is their favorite song.

Rewinders: “We can do what we always do in this situation.” Really? Yesterday is the favorite song of Rewinders, refusing to move forward, cemented in yesterday’s successes.

Reminders: “I remember when we tried this before, and it didn’t work.” “Or what about that other thing we did, but that fizzled out also?” Reminders retell what actions did not previously work in the organization.

Disruptors: Innovators that create eruptions

Grinders: Live by the Larry the Cable Guy motto: Git-R-Done! These people never quit, and grind out the tough jobs!

Finders: The innovators in the organization, who Don’t Stop Believing. Finders strive to find solutions before problems occur. Have you found your Finders yet?

Minders: Dream Big Dreams, Think Big Thoughts are what the Minders do. Minders are the strategic thinkers in the organization. Minders want to Fly Like Eagles, and take as many Eaglets with them as they can!

Do any of these descriptions sound like people in your organization? Does the dual culture keep everyone at odds with old ways vs. new thinking? Is your decision making split between keeping to culture happy?

So, how do you work through this type of environment? A few suggestions:

  1. Identification. This comes from knowing ALL of your people, the good, the bad, and the ..well, you get the idea. You don’t need banners or flyers over their desk, and no Scarlet Letters, but you need to know your team.
  2. Communication. Leaders need to communicate throughout the organization what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Many leaders ignore negative behavior until it results in dire consequences: Constant verbal sparring, physical confrontations, equal opportunity complaints, or lawsuits, all of which impact performance and customer service.
  3. Expectations. People do what you expect them to do, so you must change your expectations of the Derailers. Through counseling, coaching, and mentoring, you want to move everyone into one of the Disruptor categories. The biggest category will always be the Grinders because the work has to get done!
  4. Anticipation. Expectations without anticipation are just empty slogans. You have identified your people, communicated standards, and set expectations, so now what? Build anticipation of success by setting the benchmarks of what these new changes look like, and the associated recognition and rewards. We often expect people to change and improve, but do not build anticipation for their success.

Impacting organizational culture is tough, and change will not occur overnight, but it can be done. Create the quick wins, communicate the results, recognize and reward often, and chart the course for the future.

How will you patch up your fractured culture and pave a pathway to even greater success?

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