How do you know if the organization you’re working for is unhealthy?
Here are five signs. (Unfortunately, this is not an exhaustive list).
1) They employ zero-sum thinking. They think, “If you win, we lose.” And vice-versa.
2) They have numerous levels of controls and hierarchy that get in the way of doing things. Power gets consolidated among the faithful few.
3) They have a smug sense of their superiority. They are condescending and dismissive towards anything “NIH.” (“Not Invented Here.”) On the rare occasion when they take an idea from elsewhere, they repackage it and act like they discovered it on their own.
4) They don’t play well with others. They look at everyone on the “outside” with suspicion. Only those who have demonstrated unconditional loyalty (preferably “lifers” who’ve never worked elsewhere) rise to the top.
5) They think they’re doing just fine, thank you very much.
If you’re working in this kind of organization, get out.
Look for an organization that is generous both inside and out, trusts and empowers their people, is humble and knows their shortcomings, and is eager to learn.