Ego and the Small Business

Here’s a paradox: It is ego that often launches a successful new business, realising the vision of a single individual or small group and turning into an energetic, fast growth enterprise. It is also ego that can kill off a struggling business, stopping it from changing, recovering and redefining itself. Without the strong will, focus…

ABC Analysis – a useful collusion breaking feedback tool

The ABC analysis tool is a tool for giving honest feedback. ABC stands for “Asshole Behaviour Check” The Process It is best done in a group, but can also be done in pairs. Each person in the group offers feedback about each other member of the group. Each group member completes the following statement, with…

The Collusive Awayday

Over the last twenty years I’ve encountered quite a few collusive away days. Businesses and other types of organisation often take their team or group (which could be the management team or a team from a particular part of the organisation) out of the day to day office or working environment for a day (or…

Creating Positive Discomfort

When the pervading way of things becomes a comfort zone, the status quo, a situation can be at once a very happy but also a risky or dangerous place. The word often evoked here is complacency. We ‘fiddle while Rome burns all around us”. A business may be growing and yet it is this very…

Tips for Collusion Breaking

When the pervading way of things becomes a comfort zone, the status quo, a situation can be at once a very happy but also a risky or dangerous place. The word often evoked here is complacency. We ‘fiddle while Rome burns all around us”. A business may be growing and yet it is this very…

Naming the Darkness

For many people working in or running their own businesses, recessions are times of “darkness”. The shadow nature of recessions is something of a double-edged sword. Shadows can be places of coolness, out of the strong heat of the sun. But they can also be “shady” places in another sense – a place of hiding,…

Challenging the Status Quo

When the pervading way of things becomes a comfort zone, the status quo, a situation can be at once a very happy but also a risky or dangerous place. The word often evoked here is complacency. We ‘fiddle while Rome burns all around us”. A business may be growing and yet it is this very…

Self-collusion

A friend of mine, John Christian, referred to “self-talk” as the inner conversation we have with ourselves. It often is a conversation based on exaggeration – we talk ourselves up, which can boost our confidence to self-belief but also bring us crashing down to earth as well. Talking down to ourselves can both keep us…

Collusion Levels – four tales

Level One –  a tale of fake niceness A lecturer hands out feedback sheets at the end of a college course. Students know their exams will be marked by this lecturer who has also marked their term-time coursework. Despite assurances the feedback sheets are anonymous and will only be analysed once they have been put…

Collusion Levels

These are the levels of collusion in the “collusion of mediocrity” model. Each level can be experienced on its own, and one or more level can be operating at the same time. The labels are deliberately provocative to get the brain cells buzzing! I’ve hinted at resolutions for each level, but these are only mentioned…

Collusion – a short scene

 Note I wrote this short scene, which has been performed many times in companies and public organisations over the last ten years, in order to get to the heart of collusion in organisational life. It’s based on real comments I heard after a leadership workshop. Feel free to use it in your own sessions and…

More About Collusions

Collusions can be conscious – we can choose to collude and we can KNOW we are colluding. This may be out of a sense of helplessness or because we apply a rule which goes something like this: It may be better to collude when the damage done by breaking a collusion is greater than the…

The Collusion of Mediocrity – background

I first noticed the collusion of mediocrity in a restaurant. A friend’s starter came and was not what they ordered. When the waiter offered to change my friend replied: “No, it’s fine. I’ll have this.” It soon became clear it was not what they really wanted. On another occasion one of our party remarked that…

The Collusion of Mediocrity Poem

The collusion of mediocrity, A tease. A dance of non- Challenge, seeking safe Harbours at Honesty’s expense. In relief at escape From another day’s Truth, in soothing Saying of mock-praise, A reward for Criticism avoided. The collusion of mediocrity Will please. Reward for A neatness of nicety To deflect the naming Of knowing and telling…

The Four Levels of Collusion with quirky quotes

The Four-level Collusion of Mediocrity   Level 1 – Fake Niceness Level 2 – False Revelation Level 3 – Diluting Level 4 – Reverting and Fading     If the damage done by breaking a collusion, or moving up a level in the model, is greater than the benefit gained, then it may be better…

The Collusion of Mediocrity – basic notes

So, here’s the collusion of mediocrity in a nutshell: It is this…an often unspoken agreement to avoid discomfort through avoidance of real honesty and challenge – the result is mediocrity – something less than was there in potential. I sometimes characterise it like this as well: “I’ll praise you if you don’t challenge me”. Do…

Levels of Collusion-Breaking – some notes/guidelines

Collusion Breaking   Respectful collusion breaking always seeks permission 1. to break a collusion 2. for the level of collusion breaking allowed   The dialogue is then adjusted accordingly   Generic Collusion Breaking May I be honest here? May I speak openly?   Semi-specific Collusion Breaking May I be honest about the service here? May…