Hi Ben Ames

I think there are many (most of the times, a combination of). Here are some I’ve been observing working with various in the past few months a lot.

  1. Lack of a safe space: people don’t speak up or filter their thoughts for fear of being ridiculed, attacked or punished.
  2. Dualism: leaders say one thing — we want to be innovative, agile, transparent, collaborative, etc. — but then decisions and policies promote the opposite mindsets and behaviors.
  3. Failure to land: organizations that over analyzed everything to the point that they never make any decision at all. This mostly is based by insecurity — senior leaders that lack self-esteem (much common that you might imagine) and are always comparing their organization to others. Their company never feels good enough so they never land on a decision.
  4. The fantasy of alignment: as I wrote on a couples of pieces, it’s almost impossible that teams and especially large companies are on the same page on everything. Forcing this fantasy encourages group think and people to agree to disagree in silence, rather than forcing people to discuss tensions — people’s different perspectives bring light to collective blind spots. A team must focus on align on the mission, but be OK to disagree — and actually encourage it — on how they operate.
  5. Diversity of thinking: many companies emphasize the notion of cultural fit — the way we do things here and that’s not how we operate are typical byproducts of it. They hire and train people to think similarly. Most companies are promoting diversity from a gender, ethnic, etc. perspective, but miss the bigger picture. We must encourage diversity of thinking which makes teams more fun and interesting — most of the times this is a consequence of the ‘other types’ of diversity, but not limited to. Also, companies tend to emphasize quotas to drive ‘equality’ while diversity is about embracing and respecting each one’s uniqueness.

Hope this helps!


I help teams and organizations build fearless cultures. Creator of the Culture Design Canvas. Insights → www.fearlessculture.design/blog

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