9.4.1 Division Defense

The five keys to preventing organizational division during a crisis.

Art of War Quote: 

"You start a fire inside the enemy's camp.
Then attack the enemy's periphery."

Sun Tzu's The Art of War 12:2:3-4

Perspective: 

"Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them."John Maxwell

General Principle: 

To avoid division, leaders must rally to their people.

Situation: 

People seek the safety of organizations during times of crisis. Opponents can actively work to split people off from an organization. They do this by putting the group, its leaders, or its mission at the core of the crisis. Done correctly, this transforms the organization from a haven to a threat for its members. This use of a crisis is possible because one of the key vulnerabilities of groups is the distance separating the people. This distance can be either physical or psychological. Opponents can pick off the weakest and most distant by targeting those furthest away, either geographically or philosophically.

Opportunity: 

A crisis gives leaders an opportunity to prove the value of their organization. During a crisis, leader prevents division by understanding strategic distance (4.4 Strategic Distance). This is especially important in large organizations where division is a natural consequence of size (3.4.1 Unity Breakdown). The mutual danger created by the crisis is a powerful tool for leaders (9.3.1 Mutual Danger) The sense of shared danger among the members of the organization is an opportunity to bring them all together into a shared point of view (4.4.2 Intellectual Distance). The strength of an organization is its unity (1.7.1 Team Unity).

Key Methods: 

We use six keys to avoid panic during a crisis.

  1. During a crisis, we protect our mission defending our supporters. This means moving closer to those who are being engaged by our adversaries. Nothing says more about the shared power of the mission than our willingness to defend others. (1.6.1 Shared Mission).
  2. During a crisis, we focus our message on the value of our shared effort. The crisis is temporary while our goals will go on. Our progress toward our goals is still part of our position. We must use all of the techniques of message control to communicate the value of our shared defense (9.3.2 Message Control).
  3. During a crisis, we emphasis the safety in working together especially for the most distant. Since our opponents will start trying to divide us working at the periphery, we reach out to those at the periphery. We make sure to include them in our message of shared mission, danger, and safety in numbers (9.3.1 Mutual Danger
  4. During a crisis, we use organized activities to give people an outlet. People are united by actions. If we give people activities to perform, it provides a focus for the emotional energy generated by the crisis. They must feel responsible to the group to feel that the group is responsive to them (6.5.1 Dissipating Response).
  5. During a crisis, we address the organizational damage quickly. The worst danger is ignoring people's concerns with the organization. The more quickly we can get the crisis under control and behind us, the more meaningless opposition attacks become (6.1.1 Conditioned Reflexes).

Illustration: 

As an example, let us examine Microsoft's response to the problems created by its release of the Vista operating system. This situation created the fuel for a crisis of confidence, which Apple sparked by their "I am a Mac and I am a PC" advertisements. While the Microsoft's problems with Vista fall into the category of a crisis from self-inflicted wounds, their response to the attack by Apple was a demonstration of solid strategy. This quality of response has been less common for Microsoft in recent years.

  1. During a crisis, we protect our mission defending our supporters. Microsoft's response was to defend its users, who Apple, in selling their own cool were clearly using the crisis climate. 
  2. During a crisis, we focus our message on the value of our shared effort. Microsoft's "Windows versus walls" emphasized Apple's love for proprietary control. 
  3. During a crisis, we emphasis the safety in working together especially for the most distant. Microsoft had both the advantages and disadvantages of size. While Mac emphasized their cool, Microsoft emphasized their affordability for the masses, which reached the broadest group of people.
  4. During a crisis, we use organized activities to give people an outlet. Instead of pushing Vista, Microsoft chose to emphasize the Windows brand. They took a number of steps to make it easier for people and organizations to stay with XP. This was a good decision compared with their normal methods for encouraging the use of the new operating system by limiting backward compatibility.
  5. During a crisis, we address the organizational damage quickly. Windows 7 came out in record time and a record low price. Windows 7 built on the Windows brand and fixed the many visible shortcomings of Vista making it much easier for people to move on with Microsoft rather than leave.

PDF Download :