Signs you work in a defensive culture-(number 438b)

People will talk about work confidently, ignoring the glaring gaps, missing and unaddressed issues as if somebody somewhere obviously has a handle on it all and is organising the whole thing. They all know nobody does, but everybody talks as if that missing/invisible/non-existant person clearly knows what he is doing.

Anybody questioning this, like this “hang on, what’s this for?” “how will this happen?” “do they know this is what we will be doing?” will be be reacted to as if they are being rude and disrespectful to this imaginary person. People will find it threatening to question rather than carry on and do.

A keen eyed observer may notice these assumptions that somebody somewhere must know what they are doing and joke sardonically that this is a poorly organised and dim-witted organisation.
A keen thinking person however will know this isn’t the case. In fact it would be colluding in the problem by continuing to treat the issue as disorganisation. It’s not. The organisation is not disorganised. The Organisation is a Disorganisation. A noun not a verb. It does something opposite to what it says it does. It does this very cleverly by lying to itself and encouraging everybody else to do so by making certain things undiscussable and then crucially making this undiscussable.
When you can’t talk about the fact that certain issues are undiscussable, then the universe is sealed for good.

So what’s this got to do with Systems Thinking then?

Ooh, simply loads. All sorts. The Ladder of inference for a start. If everyone is speaking from assumptions, trading opinion not based in directly observable data, then we’re all speaking a few rungs higher than we should, but if we can’t raise this out of fear or fear of embarrassing self or others then we also are operating out of Model 1 behaviour, our theory in use is out of sync with our espoused theory…and on and on.

All sorts of stuff that I am aware exists and is important but am still learning about. I highly recommend them regardless. Google Chris Argyris like I did and start from there.


This entry was posted in learning, psychology, systems thinking, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Signs you work in a defensive culture-(number 438b)

  1. Leyton says:

    LOL – love it – thanks! 😀

    How timely too! I was just recently musing out loud with a colleague about why I can be a target of workplace politicians and others who live in their own ‘Andyverse’ ;-). He was surprised by my inquiry and said “Oh, I know why!” The answer was that I’m the guy in the room ‘questioning’ (above reference), is unafraid to say “the emperor has no clothes!”, and I’ll latch on until I get a good answer. I am so glad the leadership team where I am currently likes that about me! 🙂


  2. ThinkPurpose says:

    Me too, hurray for Leyton!


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