Park Lodge 79 Hackney Road Hackney, Adeleide, South Australia, Australia 5069

Saturday 27th May 2023 and yet another sad story about lack of governance and integrity within a big so-called ‘respectable’ organisation. This time (once again) PwC, but it could as quickly have been any of their level competitors!

I wrote to Helen Fazzino (PwC Managing PArtner People, partnerships and culture) today via LinkedIn saying “As you would know, your industry is rife with the problems you are facing right now. The imposter syndrome is part of the loose foundation of many, as is the absence of Intelligent Disobedience within a culture. Bluff it out, don’t be seen to be scared, run risks to gain, entitlement must change.” I said.

Any group made up of so-called ‘partners’, usually male-dominated, WILL have as its base, a culture of bullying mixed with the uncertainty of those lower down the org chart as to the safety of their position if they rally against what they inevitably get involved in – all levels down to junior.

Be a fly on the wall and watch group and preemptive think run roughshod over the majority, as those few, through the exercise of their ‘position’ fail just about every ‘leadership principle. Others having given up their right of participation.

Intelligent Disobedience within an organisation when properly implemented can change the culture almost immediately; the biggest hurdle is the lack of trust and respect that the majority have for the leading bullies.

The bullies incidentally need not be the ‘top dog’ but can be anywhere influence is present; it can be a personal assistant, a middle-level but highly experienced manager – the thing is, organisations that are this nature are wounded and can rarely be fixed internally.

Transformational versus Incremental change – some facets need to be transformational others must not be.

Nothing is sustainable until trust and respect up and down the ladder is achieved – that can only be incremental – no end of core values workshops, think tanks or lofty words will achieve that; in fact, these strategies can only fail.

The test of walking around, developing enough trust through Intelligent Disobedience, insistent listening, not acting as the solution or the arbiter but developing an observable culture of asking and listening; of useful collaboration, not consensus, will deliver sufficient opportunities to start that process.

Certainly not – culture workshops- revisiting core value words – buddy systems and all that – these things form the basis of disbelief, the proof of words not in the absence of action!

External assistance is necessary. External alone will fail! Leadership flows down like a waterfall, so the example of senior people needs to be clearly observable and consistent – and consistent. The problem, this is about the identification of new words and sentences and too often these are not known – this is where the action starts.


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