Are Some Teams Too Broken to be Fixed?

When the toxic element of a team devolves to a mutiny, the chance of repairing a broken culture is slim. Intractable positions only end in standoffs. Of all the reasons teams become stuck, this is the least healthy. The bulk of the team’s energy is consumed in reacting to its demise. At this stage, choices are limited. You can stay stuck or move forward.

Oddly, staying stuck is the easier option. Pain is normalized. Moving forward takes courage. The disengaged teammates fueling the mutiny are sure to exact a price from anyone who dares to suggest change. Despite their small numbers, the mutineers hold all the power.

Mustering the courage to stand up to the bullies doesn’t happen until you acknowledge the dire ramifications of staying stuck. Regardless of industry, the choice to halt a team’s growth has serious consequences:

  • Daily violation of organizational mission and values.
  • Weakened productivity due to the distraction of internal politics.
  • Failure to innovate and keep pace with best practice.
  • Loss of young and veteran talent.
  • Inability to attract and retain a sustainable workforce.
  • Legacy damage resulting from the public reputation of dysfunction.

Staying stuck is a choice. Once the costs of the mutiny are realized, the engaged majority is compelled to take charge. Let the ship sail. Those who wish to get on board are welcome as long as they agree to behave according to the spirit of the organization’s values. Those who prefer to amplify the protest should head for the lifeboats. The rest of us have work to do.