Selective Intolerance

A motivated minority can change the world. 

Imagine you have decided to stick to a gluten-free diet. One day, you’re invited to join the big corporate Christmas party. Since the party organizers know you will only eat gluten-free food, it’s logistically easier for them to serve gluten-free party dishes only. Thus, everyone will eat gluten-free food because of a small, yet motivated minority (that would be you!)

This approach, which I call selective intolerance, is the big secret to completely change a corporate culture. By courageously introducing a new high-performance standard and showing unwavering intolerance for others not meeting this standard, a corporate culture can quickly be positively transformed.

For example, you insist on a new high-performance meeting culture: As of now, every single meeting you attend must end with an overview of all the actions and decisions. You widely communicate this new standard and show selective intolerance by proclaiming loudly that you won’t join any lousy meeting where this standard is not met. Very soon, all the meetings you attend produce an action and decision list. It slowly becomes a positive organizational habit, and before long every corporate meeting ends with participants insisting on creating action and decision lists. 

If you want to test the awesome power of a motivated minority, ask yourself which low performance standards you will no longer tolerate in your organization. Next, man the barricades and start applying selective intolerance with courage, joy, and gusto.

Enjoy the show.

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