When the Rules Don’t Fit the Game


By Hank Moore, Corporate Strategist

Every business, company, or organization goes through cycles in its evolution. At any point, each program or business unit is in a different phase from the others. Every astute organization assesses the status of each branch on its growth strategies and orients its management and team members to meet constant changes and fluctuations.

It’s not that some organizations “click” and others do not. Multiple factors cause momentum or the lack thereof. As companies operate, all make honest and predictable mistakes. Those with a willingness to learn from the mistakes and pursue growth will be successful. Others will remain stuck in a frame of mind that sets themselves up for the next round of defeat or, at best, partial success.

The saddest fact is that businesses do not always know that they’re doing anything wrong. They do not realize that a Big Picture must exist or what it could look like. They have not been taught or challenged on how to craft a Big Picture. Managers, by default, see band-aid surgery as the only remedy for problems.

Is it any wonder that organizations stray off course? Perhaps no course was ever charted. Perhaps the order of business was to put out fires as they arose rather than practicing preventive safety on the kindling organization.

7 Layers of Organizations that Go Bad

  1. Self Destructive Intelligence. There exists a logic override. Since the company does not believe itself to be smart enough to do the right things, then it creates a web of rationalism. Since the mind often plays tricks on itself, management capitalizes upon that phenomenon with people who may question or criticize.
  2. Hubris. This quality destroys those who possess it. Such executives exhibit stubborn pride, believing their own spin doctoring, and surrounding themselves with people who spin quite well on their behalf. They adopt a “nobody does it as well as we can” mentality. Such companies scorn connections, collaborations, and partnering with other organizations.
  3. Arrogance. Omnipotent fantasies cause management to go too far. The feeling is that nothing is beyond their capacity to succeed (defined in their minds as crushing all other competition).
  4. Narcissism. Company executives possess excessive conceit. They are self-centered, show a cruel indifference to others, and are disconnected from outside forces. Their view is that the world must gratify them.
  5. Unconscious Need to Fail. These companies try too hard to keep on winning. With victory as the only possible end game, all others must be defeated along the way. In reality, these people and their organizations possess low self-esteem. Inevitably, they get beaten at their own games.
  6. Feeling of Entitlement. Walls and filters have been established which insulate top management from criticism (which is viewed as harming the chain of armor rather than as potentially constructive). Anger stimulates many of their decisions. The feeling is that they deserve it all. Power satisfies appetites. These executives have poor human relations skills. They believe that excesses are always justified.
  7. Collective Dumbness. Such organizations have totally reshaped reality to their own viewpoints. The emperor really has no clothes but everyone overlooks the obvious and avoids addressing it forthrightly. The organization dumbs down the overall intelligence level so that people are in the dark and cannot readily make judgment calls. Some departmental units do not interface often with others. Employees are slaves of the system. There exists total justification for what is done and an ostrich effect toward calls for accountability.

There are certain defeating signs for rapid growth. Companies’ systems are not in place to handle rapid growth. Their only interest is in booking more new business rather than taking care of what they’ve already got. Management is relies upon financial people as the primary source of advice while ignoring the rest of the picture (90%). Team empowerment suffers and morale is low or uneven. Commitment from workers drops because no corporate culture was created or sustained.

Customer service suffers during fast-growth periods. They have to back-pedal and recover customer confidence by doing surveys. Even with results of deteriorating customer service, growth-track companies pay lip service to really fixing their own problems. People do not have the same vision as the company founder who has likely not taken enough time to fully develop a vision and obtain buy-in from others. In addition, the company founder remains arrogant and complacent, losing touch with marketplace realities and changing conditions.

Everything we are in business for stems from what we’ve been taught or not taught to date. A career is all about devoting resources to amplifying talents and abilities with relevancy towards a viable end result. Business evolution is an amalgamation of thoughts, technologies, approaches, and commitment. It is necessary for people to ask insightful questions such as:

  • What would you like for your organization to become?
  • How important is it in building an organization well rather than constantly spending time in managing conflict?
  • Who are the customers?
  • Do successful corporations operate without a strategy-vision?
  • Do you and your organization presently have a strategy-vision?
  • Are businesses really looking for creative ideas? Why?
  • If no change occurs, is the research and self-reflection worth anything?

Failure to prepare for the future spells certain death for businesses and industries in which they function. The same analogies apply to personal lives, careers, and body of work. Greater business awareness and heightened self-awareness are compatible and part of a holistic journey of growth.

Hank Moore has advised over 5,000 client organizations including public sector agencies, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and 100 of the Fortune 500. Contact Hank by phone at 713-668-0664, by email at hankmoore4218@sbcglobal.net, or visit his website at www.hankmoore.com. Hank’s new book “Houston Legends” can be ordered at www.houstonlegends.net.

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