I was working with an executive coaching client recently who mentioned that some organizational cultures emphasize peace over truth. I hadn't quite thought about it this way and found the statement profound. In this case, my client was a very forthright individual, and he was being asked to tone down his style. I have also worked with executive coaching clients who needed to be more assertive and strong in speaking up. Both individuals needed to adapt to cultures who emphasized either peace or truth.
When times are tough, it is human nature to batten down the hatches. However, when business is reduced to just a set of metrics and numbers without consideration to the human side of business, growth and productivity are unintentionally squelched. Several years ago some colleagues and I were making a sales pitch to the CEO of a large chemical manufacturing company set to make major large-scale change. We argued that there was a need to manage the human side of the change in order to get the desired return on investment. The CEO remarked that his employees would just have to "get over it." Fortunately, we were able to persuade the CEO and CFO that they could not afford to be distracted by employees who were not on board and aligned with the desired changes.
I have consulted to a number of companies struggling with merger integrations. Merger integration processes are ripe with opportunities for tangles. I have coined the term organizational tanglesSM to cover a broad spectrum of human dynamics challenges that block productivity and results. Based on my years of experience as a consultant to leaders, as well as my research, I have created a taxonomy of tangles. A tangle is characterized by strong egos, protected turf, and a propensity to blame others. A common hallmark of tangles is "us vs. them" thinking and behavior.
Yesterday, after the votes in the U.S. Presidential election had been counted and the winner decided images of the world's reaction to the election of Barack Obama filled our television screens. As I watched crowds and individuals from all over the world chant "Yes We Can" with tears in their eyes, I too found myself succumbing to a tsunami of emotion. Hope filled my heart as my eyes filled with tears. I cannot remember a more universal, positive, or global transcendent moment.