June 2013: Stop Corporate Cancer from Spreading

"Corporate Cancer" can be defined as interpersonal dysfunction and group friction that reduces the effectiveness of individuals, departments and entire organizations. It manifests as office politics where individuals say things based on the affect on their or others’ careers instead of speaking the truth. Other symptoms include intense and inefficient competition for resources, an abundance of internal “CYA” emails, increased levels of stress, ambiguous direction, conflicting departmental goals, shifting priorities and lack of managerial cohesion.

This dysfunction is rooted in individuals’ behaviors that cascade to others, spreading the dysfunction.

As a leader, it is critical that you recognize whether or not your organization suffers from Corporate Cancer. Remember that the more senior you are, the harder it will be to see the real dynamics playing out in your organization. Start asking questions and listening with your eyes and ears. Then, take bold and decisive action to address the source of the cancer before it takes its toll on your business. Remember, you are responsible for the health of your organization!