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Date:16/01/2018 04:25 PM
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Article Working in the Cultural Organization: continuation
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Working the Cultural Network
Walt Disney Company
 
 
 
 

 Communications: Working the Cultural Network

A cabal is a group of two or more people who secretly join together to plot a common purpose, usually to advance themselves in the organization.

Why this should work is due to a little-known trick of behavioral logic. It's become known as the Dummy Theorem, invented and told by a software developer John Munzer some twenty years ago. The Dummy Theorem states that in any group of 'n' people, 'k' of them are Dummies, and the ratio of 'k' over 'n' is a constant greater than or equal to 2/3. That is, in any group of people, 2/3 of them will be dummies.

Why are so many dummies in the world? The Dummy Theorem explains that within a  peer group people self-select themselves into dummy or nondummy status based on their perception of themselves, vis-a-vis their peers. This is the only possible way to explain the large number of dummies  who can earn large salaries in the corporate world. Here i show smart managers put the Dummy Theorem to work.

The chairman of Mitsubishi was once interview on the subject of lifetime employment in Japanese industries. "What do you do if a middle manager starts misperforming? What do you doo with him, given that you're committed too employ him for a lifetime?"

The chairman responded immediately, "Oh, that's a problem we've studied a great deal. First, we check out the situation to find if there's something we could change to improve his performance. But if we really don't understand why he's performing badly, we promote him. Because in 72.4 percent (or thereabouts) of the times we promote someone, their performance immediately improve."

By promoting him, you improve his perception of himself in relation to his peers.  And so, obviously, he stops behaving like a dummy; he behaves like a nondummy.

The Dummy Theorem is a vast improvement over the Peter Principle, which states that people are promoted until they reach their level of in competence, where their careers stop. The Dummy Theorem says just the opposite: As long as you can advance your perception of yourself in comparison to others, you'll continue to advance and you'll always rise to the higher occasion. But crucial to advancing your estimation in other's eyes is the role of the cabal and the peer group.

The cabal is a useful lever for elevating your status, but it's also important as a protection mechanism; it offers you strength and backing. In fact, in strong cultures people unconsciously create and nurture cabals that reinforce  their ideas and positions in the company. That is, some people are semiconscious of the Dummy Theorem and how it works; and they manage by those principles rather than by more formal principles.

Trust loyalty to the group is crucial whatever the cabal's size. A cabal can be infinite in size, but it must have clear identification of interest within it. A cabal is by definition focused on something. The members of the cabal can borrow the reputations or ideas of the other members to further their own purposes. Within the cabal, this is acceptable. It's a fair trade. Shared values and experiences nurture a cabal.

A strong culture company will deliberately develop cabals, because when its interests match the cabal's interests, the result is a strong management lever.

Continue reading about 'working the cultural network'.

The cultural network are people defined as:

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