One of the challenges of groups is that they often will pull a high individual performer back to the mean. That is why teams eat groups for lunch.

Watch out for this type of Culture Killer in your midst.

Culture Killer “Hakuna Matata”

Several client engagements have us focusing again on culture, and we have started to catalog a few subtle Culture Killers. One particularly subtle virus we picked up is the “I am too cool to care”, or “it’s just a game” attitude. Have you ever noticed this on any of your teams? It typically shows up when things start to really count, it is in its simplest sense a pressure release valve for the individual. “Hey, at least I have my health…” The problem is that attitudes are contagious, and at crunch time this virus spreads like crazy. Right at the moment you need your team to focus you have them looking for the exits emotionally. We have tagged this challenge The “Hakuna Matata” (translation ‘don’t worry, be happy’) virus and like a grease fire you can’t use the normal tactics to snuff it out, or you will come off looking like a jerk.

Telling someone they can’t be happy-go-lucky or try to take the edge off of a situation is a poor tactic bound to get you labeled as a “no fun” or “all work, no play” leader. An alternative might be to recognize that the person expressing this attitude is leaking and that you should seek to flush out their hopes and goals in a safe setting. Many of your people who leak this attitude are actually your leaders in the making. They see the goal, they have stress around it, and therefore they seek to calm others and themselves. What really is missing are facts and reassurance from the leaders to that individual explaining that your company has a culture where it IS “cool to care” about the goal and the community of people who make up that group.

The Hakuna Matata virus was well cataloged in Disney’s “The Lion King” and young Simba rose to the challenge. We hope this helps you identify the potential culture killer and that you can use it to develop some potential future leaders who might just be adjusting to the heat of the battle.