Confronting Dysfunction

Do you want to be healthy?

When asked this question, almost everyone responds with a resounding “Yes!” This is true for individuals, families, social groups, and large organizations. We all desire to be healthy. Everyone wants to enjoy the benefits that come with living the “good life” while avoiding the harmful consequences that come with unhealthiness. However, while we profess an earnest desire to be healthy, our reality is far different. The truth is that few of us are as healthy as we ought to be. Unhealthiness, whether within an individual or among social groupings, is widespread—more so than most people care to see or admit. This unhealthiness, more accurately termed dysfunction, is regrettably a familiar part of our everyday lives.[1]

Human dysfunction exists among all peoples of the world. It cuts across cultures, races, and nationalities. It crosses all ages, from the very young to the very old. It is manifest in people from all stations of life, bridging socioeconomic strata, education levels, and class distinctions. Human dysfunction appears in many forms, some of which are easy to recognize. For instance, an employee with a conduct disorder who frequently acts out is easily identifiable as dysfunctional. Human dysfunction appears in other forms that are less obvious though. Take the sociopath who comes across as smooth and polished but uses that charm as a cover for manipulation. Or take the corporation held in high esteem, all the while undercutting its competition and defrauding its clients through unscrupulous tactics.

Human dysfunction ranges in severity. Among individuals, it hinders people from reaching their full potential. It may be so severe as to threaten the person’s life, as in the case of the alcoholic, the gambling addict, or someone who is clinically depressed. However, do not be tricked into thinking that only severe manifestations of dysfunction impose limitations. Even mild dysfunction causes a person to live a diminished life—a life less than a person desires. For instance, procrastination prevents most people from achieving their full potential by reducing their options and stifling their best work. These limitations may be more pronounced for an addict, but procrastination curbs anyone’s potential.

Beyond this individual level, dysfunction also arises in social groupings. Dysfunction manifests itself in families, service clubs, interest groups, schools, businesses, and institutions of all sizes and in all segments of society. Businesses are not immune. No institution—not small business, not government, or even non-profit organizations—is exempt from the various manifestations of human dysfunction. The causes vary: unhealthy individuals who wound other people, coalitions wielding power in self-serving ways, and entire organizations, the stakeholders of which collectively turn a blind eye on corruption, unfairness, or exploitation, are all possible sources.

In essence, where there are people, there is the potential for dysfunction. Unfortunately, even though it is pervasive and exacts a high cost, many leaders do not understand this phenomenon. Yet they are regularly forced to grapple with dysfunction in their various professional and personal spheres and on levels ranging from individuals to factions, whole companies, and organizations.

Obviously, most leaders are not trained mental health professionals. Unlike psychiatrists and psychologists, few leaders have the tools necessary for dealing with disruptive dynamics in their organizations. Despite this limitation, making a constructive response is vital to the health of their enterprise. No response or an anemic response is not a viable option. Dysfunction must be addressed immediately.

The consultants at TurningWest are skilled in the art of confronting dysfunction. We are able to immediately assist you by providing you with an accurate diagnosis of your challenges and an analysis of the hidden costs that your dysfunction is exacting on your organization. When you engage us as part of your team, we will coach you in how to handle the entirety of the problem so that you do not treat only the symptoms of dysfunction but apply healing to the source of the problem so lasting change can occur, freeing your business or organization to reach its fullest potential.

Call us today so we can begin immediately!

It saddens us to hear so many stories of organizations burdened with troubled teams. They can be huge time wasters or even deeply toxic experiences that drive away core talent. A key component of our consulting practices is bringing healing to troubled teams. We understand the hidden sociology of team formation and behavior and have vast experience in restoring troubled teams to health and productivity.

We at TurningWest have seen all these dysfunctions and myriads more. Through countless board development projects we have crafted a process for restoring the power of the nonprofit board so that it can once again contribute its potential power to drive the mission of the organization.

Give us a call and tell us your story of your troubled team(s). We offer a free 30 minute consultation during which you will at least walk away with some new insights on the underlying cause of the dysfunction and an idea or two to move forward with. Or, you can engage us to work alongside you to apply our knowledge to your situation.

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