What makes a workplace dysfunctional?

People—who block progress, knowingly or not.

There are several types of workers. For instance, people like you who create change and disrupt the status quo, and those who do their existing jobs well.

But there are also some people do nothing, or worse, those who want to wield power over others. Both types of people hinder your ability to get things done. I call these people Corporate Conformists.

Corporate Conformists

Two Types of Corporate Conformists

A Corporate Conformist is a person who thrives in the status quo of a dysfunctional company culture for their selfish gain.

There are two types of Corporate Conformists:

1. Retired in Placers (RIPs)

2. Power Egos

Retired in Place (RIP)

RIPs are the water that puts out the fire of passion in go-getters like yourself. They are the folks who take up space at the office.

They don't have a real passion for the industry or their job. RIPs direct employees to solve useless problems and they frustrate the team with the opportunity to work on anything satisfying. A RIP will not be the one to pick up the ball and drive change.

They never give you concrete answers or make tough decisions. These are the people who wait for others to take the initiative.

These are the people who schedule endless meetings for the sake of having meetings and then fill half of the time with small talk.

Do you know anyone like that?

RIP poster.png

But there is another type of Corporate Conformist. Power Egos. It is the Power Egos that make your work life miserable.

Power Egos

Power Egos want you to submit to their power. That's it.

All the differing labels/dialects to “make people submit” makes it harder to tackle power abuse.

It could be as simple as humiliating someone publicly. But it can also be defined by those who “mansplain” or bully. Sexual harassment, retaliation, and racism are also heavy-duty forms of power abuse. Or, they can be slick and stealthy, and fly under the radar to capture their power.

Power Ego’s tactics differ, but it is all the same. Submit or else. They want to be in charge. They want you to obey. They have their plan, and you are going to help them get there.

These aren't managers. They are dictators.

power egos poster.png

In a functional company, there are fewer pockets of Corporate Conformists and more go-getters like you.

In a dysfunctional or toxic environment, there are many more Corporate Conformists who aren’t like you at all.

When you have a new idea or are trying to advance your project, you unknowingly challenged the Corporate Conformists who maintain the status quo.

Your project or idea might add time and effort which is an issue, or if your idea is really good, it is a threat to the interests of someone who needs to look smarter than you.

You are friction.

You distract from business-as-usual.In a dysfunctional company, passion and enthusiasm are squelched in a department polluted with more Corporate Conformists than go-getters like you.

Not only do they squash the positive energy, but they also add negative energy. This cynical, unspoken energy creates a repellent to change.

Because your thoughts diverge from business as usual, your go-getter nature can’t be contained. You radioactive to Corporate Conformists because to them, conformity is safe; new is risky. 

A Corporate Conformist’s internal dialogue filters through their motives and sends them into defense mode. This resistance results in their external efforts to nix the idea before it can get off the ground. The idea may not incur much expense or time, yet, it is still a no.

A motivated person like you in a dysfunctional environment loses confidence.

You think, “Hmm. Maybe my idea is bad.” You question if you have missed the mark. Your solution must have been imperfect; otherwise, it would have advanced.

But then, after much reflection, you realize that killing the idea makes no sense. They say they want innovative solutions, when in fact, what they want is the same thing that they have today: certainty inside of the conformity. 

When great ideas are obvious, and then shot down, our jaws hit the floor. Our colleagues say, "Welcome to the company" shaking their heads, right along with us.

The same patterns of inertia continue. The equilibrium of corporate conformity is restored.

The Balance of Corporate Conformists

Corporate Conformists (RIPs and Power Egos) attract each other.

Because of this, they insulate and sustain the dysfunction. There is an equilibrium between the two.

RIPs don’t want to change anything, so they just let that Power Egos have their power, and they push off the impossible demands on to you.

If things are working in both Corporate Conformist's favor right now, there is no need to change.

You see, people don't like change. They don't WANT change. Especially, when the status quo is working fine. Corporate Conformists that you work with aren’t going anywhere. They are balanced and distributed part of a dysfunctional culture.

I'm sure you are thinking, "Oh, great! So what am I supposed to do about THAT?"

It isn’t you. It is them. You have been drowning in the Corporate Conformist swamp of dysfunctional behavior.
When you have Corporate Conformists fighting to protect the status quo, your life as a go-getter is rough.

But you are taking a pause to reevaluate the playing field. Rather than sensing something is off, you can now put a finger on what corporate conformity is, and who your corporate conformists are in your ecosystem. This is a huge step. You can’t win the game, unless you know what the game is.

Look at more of the tools on the website to help you navigate the dysfunction.

Or, you can learn more about the Signature Course: Smuggling Innovation to see the full curriculum of how I help you create success inside dysfunctional companies—no matter who you work with!