Most, if not all, of the problems and conflicts in organizations, stem from cultural issues, baked in before you started working there.

“This is how we do things here.” (Status quo)

“Isn’t everything going great here?” (False expectations/Poor feedback loop)

“Don’t say anything and it’ll just get ‘better’ on its own.” (Silencing response)

“It’s always been thing way here. Why are you trying to change things now?” (Shaming)

“The last time someone tried that, not only didn’t it work, but they also got fired.” (Threats/Retaliation)

“The pot always gets stirred around here about something.” (Fake/False Conflicts)

The statements represent the issues that can be overcome with courage. But, especially in organizations where the status quo needs to be preserved for people at the top of a hierarchy to “win,” more often than not, statements like those above represent organizational cultures where courage is in short supply.

Baked in fear, power misuse and abuse, failures of courage in leadership, ignoring and avoiding real issues, and denying reality—these are all based in, supported by, and encouraged within cultural milieus that must change.

Or else the future of work, leadership, innovation, and growth will remain far away indeed.