A ‘Them And Us’ Mentality: Why It’s Hurting Your Business

Having spent many years living and working in South Africa and around the World, I have developed my business theory from the observations that apartheid-like systems are operating within businesses worldwide.

I believe that many businesses are working with established top down management structures that are based on a system of power, knowledge and risk similar in setup to apartheid, feeding on division and a lack of information and trust, creating a belief that this is the ‘right’ way to lead. Is updating these systems, and stepping into a new system of leadership that is based on equality and openness, the only way to truly expand the vision of a company, and to move towards a new level of success?

In a modern world I believe it is inevitable and prudent to make these changes to retain the vast experiential knowledge accumulated in organisational life, and to make an ongoing commitment to see each other’s successes, and not to disadvantage the many to enrich the few.


What’s Wrong with ‘Them And Us’?

You’re the boss, right? So your view is the most important? Wrong! Ninety five percent of adults in the Western World live in the belief that we need to subject ourselves to the ministrations of ‘learned’ professionals, and this is an approach taken by many senior leaders in our business community. I believe this is causing the very problems that limit growth across whole companies and sectors. Stepping into a new mindset, and enabling change across your organisation, can revolutionise the way you do business, and this is crucial if you want to expand and see greater personal and professional development, with profits to match.

An effective leader will understand that team members at every level are, and should be, the very investment in the business as a whole, bringing the commitment and experiential knowledge essential to progress. It is the ability to recognise this potential that is the difference between a leader fixated on traditional top down power (forcing the very people we want to perform to follow rigid instructions and schedules), and a company that is open to an equality or partnership based model that treats people as self governing adults possessing meaningful ideas.

Apartheid is widely recognised as a destructive and aggressive, if not violent, system that cannot predicate positive outcomes, and it may, therefore, seem extreme to draw comparisons with the business world. However, I believe it is vital that we expose and re-frame exploitation at every level, and this is exactly what has become acceptable to many of us when viewed as a legitimate business practice. By calling it out, and recognising it for what it is, we have a real chance to challenge a world view that restricts and limits us all.


So What Is The Alternative?

Stepping forward into a more effective business model will look different for every company, and facilitating business growth across organisations usually involves a specialist and some challenging processes. Some of the changes that you implement will seem unfamiliar, and perhaps unusual, to those used to working within the traditional model. However, successful outcomes for every single business I have worked with have shown me that these strategies produce higher levels of sustainable growth than other models can in the longer term.


Re-organising involves

  • Re-framing your emotional and cognitive connection with your business and your staff and team, and looking at how to create real investment in the enterprise from every member of the company.
  • Addressing your own leadership qualities and questioning how you may be restricting the progress of your team, exploring how to lead and learning from those very people who you lead. For example, have you ever actually asked those that work with you how they want to be led?
  • Using an understanding and knowledge of human social skills to re-form the workplace performance environment.


Breaking Down The Barriers Within Your Business

Kieth Deats is a specialist in equality-based practice and has committed his lifetime’s work and doctoral practice study to addressing equality at every level of society as a practitioner. He is driven to enable this with individuals, teams and leaders. He currently partners with peer practitioners and entrepreneurs, working to develop frameworks that introduce and integrate equality-based practices and management actions to update and evolve their enterprises. The goal is to sustain and increase rates of growth, with a determination to see each other’s success and the well-being of leaders and their organisations as a priority for modern enterprise.

Kieth is available to give talks, and enable the design and implementation of equality-based practices in your own settings, and is contactable via www.recree8.com.