What’s Your Dysfunction? Identifying Culture Problems in Business

September 26th, 2018  | 

Published in Conflict Resolution

We’ve seen plenty of dysfunction in our government for quite some time now. But The New York Times op-ed essay by an anonymous senior official in the Trump administration offers a glimpse at the kind of operational chaos that is never good—regardless of your politics. You don’t have to work in the White House to understand that dysfunction can cripple your organization’s culture, and in turn, it’s performance and success.

Those of you who know me as a long-time accountability speaker and motivational speaker understand that when I say culture, I’m referring to an acronym for the Seven Pillars of Accountability™: character, unity, learning, tracking, urgency, reputation, and evolving.

When the wheels start coming off the bus—or more pointedly, when you have individuals who are deliberately pulling them off the axle—the high-performing organization you aspire to build becomes mired in dysfunction. A victim of culture crashers.

The consequences of culture crashers.

Whether you’re the CEO of a multinational enterprise, managing director at a large corporation, department head at a mid-size company, or the “buck-stops-here” leader of your own small business, imagine the effect on your operation if one of your people anonymously published confidential details about the day-to-day function of your business, questioned your leadership, and undermined the efforts your staff. As an accountability speaker and motivational speaker, I’m very familiar with the damage individuals can inflict when they’re not aligned with the organization’s mission, vision, values or strategy.

Culture crashers chip away at an organization’s character by diluting trust. After all, how can a company achieve real success if staffers can’t trust one another; if they can’t rely on each other to put forth their best effort toward a mutual purpose?

Along with trust, unity, urgency and reputation take big hits too. Your organization—any organization—can’t possibly achieve its potential if there isn’t mutual excitement and enthusiasm about a common purpose. High performance will remain elusive as long as decision-making and the urgent pursuit of excellence are derailed by folks who aren’t fully onboard with your mission, strategy and tactics. How can your reputation not be tarnished when employee behaviors don’t match values? These are just some of the pain points I help companies address as an accountability speaker, motivational speaker and business consultant.

High-performing organizations create and sustain a culture of purpose, accountability, and fulfillment. So how do you root out bad actors, broken processes, entropy and fears standing in the way? 

Identify the culture crashers.

Often, gut instincts tell us something is off. Performance benchmarks clue us in that “yes, there is a problem.” Still, it may be hard to pinpoint which areas of your culture being damaged—or by what or whom. Until you can hone in on the source or sources of dysfunction, your organization will continue to underperform. As an accountability speaker and motivational speaker, I’ve developed an assessment that helps organizations identify their culture crashers.

Results from a detailed questionnaire (which spans all Seven Pillars of Accountability) are measured against data collected from more than 6,000 CEOs, managing directors and key executives who are considered industry leaders. They are benchmarked against some of the most admired, most successful companies in the world—including Marriott, The Container Store, Nucor, Herman Miller, Ernst & Young and Sony.

The Accountability Assessment is a good first step toward identifying culture crashers and creating an action plan to overcome dysfunction. If you’re ready to build a success-boosting culture that is the hallmark of a high-performance, I’m here to help you get started.

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises some of the world’s most admired companies and leaders, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 200 strategic planning sessions, and he’s delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents. His fifth leadership book — Decision Time: Leadership Lessons from History’s Greatest Moments — will be published in 2019 by Simple Truths.

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