In organizational management, people are everything, and the pain of talent shortage is the most significant pain point.
When a company is in a growth phase, many management problems can be hidden, but once growth stops, all the problems will multiply and erupt.
In my opinion, the fastest way to destroy a company is through internal strife.
Why do I say that? Let’s discuss this topic.
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01-Three Manifestations of Organizational Internal Friction
- Suspicion Chain:
When times are tough, everyone’s focus is on business, often neglecting people’s feelings. Lack of communication can lead to a chain of suspicion within the organization, starting from employees, going up to managers, and reaching the top management.
- Managers suspect employees of slacking off, not being dedicated to their work.
- Top management doubts the competence and suitability of managers, lacking trust in their professionalism.
- Employees question the company’s performance, fearing job insecurity.
Once this chain of suspicion forms within an organization, it can give rise to various other issues, such as excessive micromanagement, overbearing management practices, and extreme pressure on employees.
- Departmental Silos:
Due to a lack of internal communication within a company, departments tend to operate independently, leading to the phenomenon of “departmental silos.” For example, when company performance declines, the sales and operations departments might engage in blame-shifting. Sales might complain about the low quality of leads provided by operations, while operations criticize the sales team for their poor conversion rates.
This division between departments can result in significant internal friction, where each department inhibits the others, engages in finger-pointing, and lacks cohesiveness, making it difficult to drive the business forward.
- Internal Exhaustion :
A critical manifestation of organizational internal strife within teams is “internal exhaustion.” Internal exhaustion refers to all meaningless consumption, excessive pursuit of formalism, and low-level repetition.
Within a company, internal exhaustion often manifests through overworking, especially in cases of “performance-based” overtime. For example, when a company emphasizes improving efficiency, some employees may engage in “performance-based” overtime, spending excessive time at work while not accomplishing much during regular hours.
Ray Dalio from Bridgewater Associates once said, “Overtime should be a last resort, something that everyone should strive to avoid.” Performance-based overtime only leads to internal exhaustion within the team and doesn’t increase the company’s productivity. Instead, it consumes employees’ time, energy, and resources.
The same concept applies to management practices. Overemphasis on managerial formalism, focusing on processes over results, leads to everyone working diligently at a low level. This ultimately harms both employees and leadership.
These are the three primary manifestations of organizational internal strife.
02- How to Reduce Organizational Internal Friction?
The most significant cost for an organization is internal friction, which can significantly reduce team efficiency and make 1+1 less than 2, or even less than 1.
So, in challenging times, how can you reduce organizational internal friction?
- Choose the Right People and Perform 360-Degree Evaluations on Managers
An organization is made up of people, and having the right people is crucial for a successful organization. Therefore, the first step is to select the right individuals.
I’ve mentioned before that all team problems ultimately stem from management issues. During challenging times, the role of managers becomes even more critical, so it’s essential to perform 360-degree evaluations on them.
Bringing the right people on board to assume more significant responsibilities and removing the wrong ones is more effective than eliminating 100 underperforming employees.
How do you evaluate managers? I look at three key points:
- Professionalism: Are they diligent and conscientious in their work? Do they lead by example, demanding high standards from both their subordinates and themselves?
- Collaboration: Can they collaborate effectively with other departments, focusing on collective success rather than personal gain?
- Expertise: Are they sufficiently knowledgeable and capable of achieving results?
- Do the Right Things – Winning Battles Is the Best Team Building
After selecting the right people, the next step is to do the right things. Winning battles is the best way to build a strong team. Only organizations that win battles have true cohesion.
How can you win battles? First, understand the company’s strategy, break it down, and convey it to the team. Address the questions about whether the team is willing to do the work.
Next, immerse yourself in the process by seeking answers from customers. You must know how to do things yourself before you can lead your team to succeed.
Then, transfer your experiences to your team through systematic training and coaching, enhancing everyone’s abilities to address whether the team can do the work.
Lastly, execution is key. Only when you execute well can you achieve victory.
- Information Dissemination – Cultivate a Simple and Open Culture
During difficult times, culture can be a company’s lifeline. Therefore, effective information dissemination is crucial to ensure everyone knows what the company stands for and what it opposes.
It’s essential to avoid situations where someone violates the company’s values, and when confronted, claims to be unaware of certain guidelines. Through layers of communication, ensure everyone is well-acquainted with the company’s culture and values.
A company should cultivate a simple and open culture, focusing on addressing problems openly rather than fostering mutual suspicion, leading to internal factions.
Simplicity means addressing issues related to tasks and not individuals. When you see someone doing something wrong, be candid and point out the problem for the sake of achieving the best results for the entire team.
Because we are a team, our primary goal is to get things done. To benefit the entire team and strive for the best results, open and straightforward communication about the task simplifies the process.
In this way, organizational efficiency will greatly improve.
In summary, the quickest way to destroy a company is through internal friction. Organizational internal friction manifests in three ways: a chain of suspicion, departmental walls, and internal redundancy. To reduce internal friction, select the right people, do the right things, and cultivate a healthy culture.