There are several components that can turn organizations into political jungles and cesspools of intrigue.
- Feigned commitments to the market used to “blame” people who do not meet numbers/release dates
- Dysfunctional boards which manage various parallel “shadow organizations”
- Competition between competing geographies for control of strategic products/roadmaps
- Contradicting demands without top-down integration, such as “make the deal and be fully compliant”.
- Overpaid, detached leadership while employees are policed by process and over fertilized with “engagement programs”.
- Severe leadership gaps in “walking the talk”
- HQ-field dynamics based on too much control or confusion
The behavioural aspects of this dysfunction manifest themselves as:
- Squabbling about roles and responsibilities
- Obsessive redefining of process
- Lack of trust
- Partial transparency
- Deteriorating teamwork
- Blame-shifting email threads and finger-pointing as long as the equator
When the organization is so “zoo-ish”, pathological forms of HR tend to wow-wow and rah-rah employees and managers around slogans which obfuscate the challenges that the organization needs to address. For example, the lack of a long term commitment of employers to their employees is often coupled with engagement sloganeering.
Overly commercial OD can add damage by developing OD packages that deal with the symptoms of the political zoo, (such as engagement packages) while what the root causes are left alone. In such cases, OD kicks itself in the ass by becoming a hand maiden of the system pathology.
However, there is good news. OD can dry up organizational political swamps, not via OD products, but rather by an OD process that focus on:
- Identifying the reasons why basic survival instincts drive behaviour at all levels.
- Classify what/is not in controllable to work on lessening the level of fear and anxiety that leads to reliance on such basic survivor instincts.
- Gradual lessening of perceived threats to survival, basic on real change, not sloganeering.
Sounds hard?-you bet it is. But that is what professional OD brings to the table. Mais oui! 🙂