Transforming Polarized Cultures

Liberal vs. conservative, labor vs. management, smoker vs. non-smoker, i-phone vs. android, vegan vs. non-vegan, gas vs. hybrid, and the list goes on. Although I long for the simpler, bygone days of ‘paper or plastic’, I cannot escape the fact that western culture, in 2017, seems to be pushing us, all of us, into separate and, often, opposing “camps”. The resulting ‘camp mentality’ always comes with a belief system that includes accusatory finger-pointing toward the opposing camp, and vice versa. The goal is to lower the status of the opposing camp, thereby raising the status of the host camp, which always perceives that it owns more of the truth and is therefore entitled to the higher status.

This is, of course, a fallacy. According to the unbreakable, non-negotiable rules of status, whenever you lower someone else’s status, you lower your own. That is rule number one. And whenever there is a disparity of status assignments, no growth is possible. That is rule number two. Yet when growth is sluggish in any organization or country, the camps form, the fingers are pointed, and growth slows even further as the disparity in status widens. The front-liners accuse the executives, the executives accuse the front-liners, and growth becomes impossible. The culture becomes weaker as the camps become stronger. This is the type of environment that only effective leadership, at all levels, can correct.

One of the heaviest burdens of leadership in 2017 and beyond will be finding ways to create environments where equal, HIGH status is assigned and shared, consistently, by ALL groups, no matter where they fall on the org chart, no matter where they exist on the sociological ladder. This will be challenging at best, since we seem to be dividing and sub-dividing into more and more camps on a daily, and sometimes, hourly, basis. Leadership Masters is addressing this issue with all of our clients, in all sectors, from Coca-Cola and General Mills in the Food and Beverage Industry, to Boeing and Lockheed Martin in Defense Technology, to Booz Allen and UBS in the Financial Sector, to GE and 3M in Manufacturing, to Novo Nordisk and AstraZeneca in Pharma. We are creating programs that address the critical issue of environmental high status, and how to build such environments. With programs such as “The Mandela Architecture”, “The Churchill Chronicles”, “Limitless Possibilities” and “Open Challenges in Closed Systems”, we are meeting our clients’ needs to meet the challenge of polarized, camp cultures, and we do not take this responsibility lightly.

As modern training platforms move toward on-line courses and electronic case studies, it is important to remember that camp mentality is an ENERGY; an energy that must be gauged and then met with the energy of equal, high status. Authority figures rarely provide such energy. Authority figures thrive on camp mentality and the divisive energy that such environments create. Therefore, it is logical to assume that the more camps we create, the more authority figures we will see springing up to lead them. This will only add to the burden of leadership in 2017 and beyond. Not only will inspiring and effective leaders be met with the challenge of polarized environments, they will also have to manage the authority figures that grow from within them. Leadership Masters is watching this trend and possible phenomenon closely, and we are here to help.

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