Some organizations are little versions of Dante’s Inferno with its sign ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’ at the door. You may think that this is a bit dramatic but in reality it’s something you can smell. Or see the smoke. They don’t need the sign, but it’s hell.
The worst of hells are those that pretend not to be. Organizations with subtle toxicity in management, and passive-aggressive disengagement of people, excuse my language. Translation: management exercises power and grooms their egos; nobody else is doing much beyond duty; people don’t rush to implement decisions because they know that the life cycle of a decision is counted in days. If one waits a bit, another decision will take over…
I described this a while ago as the Broken Windows of Management.
OK, it’s a kind of very benign hell, not hot enough to get burnt. But no less hopeless. I personally prefer to be confronted with a “hell-hell” than a hell that doesn’t look like one. One that sprays air freshener so that you can’t smell the burning. The late C.K. Prahalad had a name for these organizations: Calcutta in summer. Get the picture?