End Sabotage and Cure Organizational Schizophrenia

Executives frequently disagree with decisions that the executive team – or the CEO – have already made.  Sometimes, we even disagree with how a decision was made.  However, after a decision is made, we make a choice to act in accordance with the decision or to act and speak consistently with what we wish the decision was.  While we don’t call it this enough, acting inconsistently with a decision that was made is – covertly or overtly and intentionally or unintentionally – an act of sabotage, negatively impacting the behaviors of others and diminishing the intended results.

joinlist Furthermore, when we give competing directions to employees we create Organizational Schizophrenia, causing employees to be confused or frozen in fear, acting without clear direction, choosing who to please and who to disappoint, or simply acting with diminished power and support and at odds with colleagues.

This is without a doubt one of the most critical impediments to a company’s ability to successfully manage execution.  The problem is that this doesn’t often make its way to the executive team – or the executives are so desensitized to it that it becomes just one of the elephants in the room and never gets addressed.

There are times to discuss and even revisit a decision after it is made, but

  • all public disagreements,
  • confusing directives, and
  • any actions that are inconsistent with the team’s decisions

…are sabotage.

If there are disagreements with a decision after a decision is made, the thing to do is to take that to the team and work it out in the locker room.  Playing-out the disagreement on the field with the rest of the company serves to confuse and breakdown the fiber of the company: trust, motivation, focus, and power to succeed.

So, as you see Q2 coming to a close, how much of the gap between target and actual results can you chalk up to sabotage or Organizational Schizophrenia?

Would you like to get the company moving faster, have it be more agile, and accomplish better and more predictable results? Then, create the list of targets not met, issues unresolved, disagreements and pink elephants and start talking, resolving and making decisions – and then follow through in unison.

And, if you don’t know all the issues that the exec team should be resolving and to what extent the next level leaders are confused, ask them.

This can get messy, especially if you have been avoiding issues for months or years or if Sabotage and Organizational Schizophrenia is well ingrained.  And, it is possible that your employees won’t be comfortable telling you everything, or they would have already.  But there is hope and it doesn’t have to be painful or hard; get some help.  The first step is to admit that the company has a problem.  You’ll want to have an MBA with very high EQ that is very skilled at executive team development, strategy execution, and conflict resolution as a guide.  And, yes, I know someone that would be perfect…

So, just make it easy on yourself and pick-up the phone.  There may still be time to save the year.

Or if it’s easier, reply to this email and I will call you back.  Within 30 minutes, you will know what to do next.

Start a conversation with us by calling (305)704-8990 and let’s explore what next level results look like for your company. Or shoot us an email and we will call you.

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Matthew Levy, Matthew Levy Miami, Results Management Group, Miami FL

Matthew Levy is the Chief Catalyst and principal of RESULTS MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC, a growth management consulting and executive coaching firm that dramatically shifts business results by: facilitating the creation of compelling visions and strategiesaligning executive and other management teamsdeveloping an organizational capacity to manage execution and designing organizational environments that support the attainment of dramatically better results in any area.

3 Comments

  1. M Nemzow June 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Yes, leadership is about pointing the direction, but also responding to direct and indirect dissent. You explain the tools for building respect and a viable team well.

  2. M Nemzow June 28, 2013 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    Matthew, this passive-aggressive behavior bleeds out to customers and undermines business strategy, too. Yes, leadership is about pointing the direction, but also responding to direct and indirect dissent. You explain the tools for building respect and a viable team well.

  3. Shari Roth July 14, 2015 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Definitely on point. See this behavior all the time. There’s a meeting and decision made. Then after the meeting, people walk out and have their own sidebar discussions. It doesn’t work. Had this very conversation last week with someone on the Board of a non-profit that I am part of. As the new membership chair he announced this year’s goal. However, it was clear that it was not his goal. Because when he made the announcement, he said “The President’s goal is 4 net new members.” I asked him about it and he confessed he wanted something much lower because he wanted to “clean house ” of non-participating members. Challenging him to either align with the President’s goal, or go back and speak to him was critical for synergies and effectiveness this year.

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