GEORGE: This is not good. World's are colliding! George is getting upset!

[Inside Jerry's apartment -- Jerry sits on the couch listening to George.]

GEORGE: Ah you have no idea of the magnitude of this thing. If she is allowed to infiltrate this world, then George Costanza as you know him, Ceases to Exist! You see, right now, I have Relationship George, but there is also Independent George. That's the George you know, the George you grew up with -- Movie George, Coffee shop George, Liar George, Bawdy George.

JERRY: I, I love that George.

GEORGE: Me Too! And he's Dying Jerry! If Relationship George walks through this door, he will Kill Independent George! A George, divided against itself, Cannot Stand!

[Elaine enters]

GEORGE: You're Killing Independent George! You know that, don't you?

I know it has been a while since Seinfeld has been on the TV (at least originally); however, for me that was one of the best episodes. But what has this got to do with you and the Culture/Environment within your organisation/team?

Well, along the lines of what George had to say: A Culture, divided against itself, cannot stand! However there are times when differences within an organisation can be of huge benefit:

1. People, Personality, Experience and Skills
You don’t want everyone to be the same. The differences at this level can make for a great team and a great organisation, as long as this difference is headed in the same direction with a common goal and a common purpose.

2. Ideas and Philosophies
Once again this difference must be directed, and dealt with in a certain way. Each individual must know that these differences will only be advantageous as long as they don’t hang onto their ideas etc, ‘just because it is theirs’. They will defend themselves, their ideas and philosophies but only up to the point when they realise someone else has a better idea, philosophy or direction.

Once again at these levels (and many others), differences and the conflict that sometimes follows can be a great thing for any organisation or team. But there has to be an understanding behind it that allows it to be beneficial to all.

And that understanding is that everyone is not here for his or her own agenda, but they will fight for what they believe is right for the overall good of the team or organisation. So, with this type of understanding and the preparedness of each individual to take on the belief and responsibility to work for the team’s purpose and not his/her own, the difference can and will be a huge advantage.

But with that aside, what are some of the areas (as in the Seinfeld episode) where, when the two worlds come together, what we see today will cease to exist?

Well obviously there are many. But to me the one characteristic where there can be no difference is Values: Organisational values and Individual values must be on the same level.

I have seen, and no doubt you have too, people try to fudge it; they try to ignore it. They try and overcome it with smoke and mirrors.

They think that even though one individual comes into the organisation with a set of values that is in total conflict to those of the team, because of some ‘magical intervention’ everything will work itself out and it will all be OK.


It just will not work and someone will have to lose -- either by compromising their values or by having to go their separate way.

So conflicting values bring either compromise (the beginning of the end) or loss. There is nothing beneficial in either one of these outcomes.

What I am talking about here is not all one-way traffic. The organisational values are not always the be-all and end-all so that every individual who joins the team must have values that fit with the team. There has to be a combination of both sets of values.

There has to be synergy between individual values and organisational values. There has to be an ongoing evaluation to ensure that values remain in synergy. There has to be the knowledge of what values are present and which ones are missing. There has to be an opportunity to evaluate the relevance, benefit and significance of the values that the organisation or team are guided by.

You need to know the values of new individuals joining the team and have an ongoing understanding of the values of the team members who have been with you for a while. You have to know where there will be synergy or conflict between the values of organisation and the individual. There needs to be a strategy on how you can introduce the new values from the individual to the team.

For the team to benefit from individual difference and for the individual to benefit from the team, their needs to be synergy of values on the three levels:

o Organisational
o Leadership
o Individual

And as long as these are in place …

The Journey Continues!

Author's Bio: 

Bill Nelson is an elite international sporting coach who has turned his knowledge of developing peak team and individual performance into a world-class corporate consultancy, Total Performance Concepts Pty Ltd.

Bill’s wisdom on the science of motivation, performance coaching and team building has been utilised by business organisations, defence forces, the real estate and telecommunications industries, educational institutions, local government, numerous businesses and elite sporting programs throughout the world.