How to Avoid Civil War in Your Company

Half of Americans recently surveyed believe that “in the next few years, there will be civil war in the United States.” 


How would a civil war affect your company? More important, how is this shocking belief affecting it now? And what can you do about it?


Lately it’s become commonplace to hear the term “tribalism” in the media. Though it is usually in reference to our political divide, it seems the problem has grown deeper than that. Wikipedia defines politics as “the set of activities that are associated with making decisions” in groups. So if it were merely politics, we would be arguing about what should be done to better our country. Instead, it seems we’re questioning other groups’ basic rights. 


With half the country believing a civil war is imminent, some level of discord is almost certainly present in your company. How bad is it? How can you find out? And, once you do, how can you address it?


We believe that a sensitive, well-designed learning matrix offers the best start toward a solution. Training managers can help employees grow from tribes of “left” and “right” toward a unified tribe of “Your Company.” The first step is to understand the appeal of tribalism.


“[A] tribe including many members who… were always ready to aid one another, and to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would be victorious over most other tribes, and this would be natural selection.”

- Charles Darwin


So this impulse derives from a need to help one’s group prevail over another group. Take away the feeling that another group is harming your well-being and you remove the value of tribalism. But should corporate trainers attempt to remove this impulse? Or do we want to redirect it?


Your company competes with others… for customers, for partners, for employees. In the quote above, Darwin mentions “the common good.” As corporate trainers, isn’t our job to make sure that employees understand their role in the common good of the company? And can we truly say that it is not our job to instill a strong sense of: “What is good for the company is good for you, as an employee”? This is the essence of performance culture.


At Circle LMS we’ve designed a learning matrix for moving employees along a spectrum of corporate engagement. The first task is to understand where they are so the process starts with gauging response to your onboarding corporate branding material. We attach to it a provocative quiz designed to identify attitudes. Then, based on the answers, further training is assigned and again, followed by a quiz designed to understand each employee’s commitment and engagement.


This method may easily be refined based on each employee’s role as detected by Circle at login. Standard courses that teach methods and standards may easily be augmented to instill company mission and values and the importance of each employee’s role in accomplishing goals.


“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

- Upton Sinclair


Or stated more positively: “It is easy to get people to give all they have when they feel bonded as a corporate tribe furthering their collective common good.”