This picture of corporate America looks idyllic.

  1. More women than men.
  2. Mixed racially.
  3. A wide variety of ages.
  4. Everyone smiling as if they all like each other.

It’s a stage being set that rarely, if ever, exists. Certainly no meeting I’ve ever been in meets the top three criteria. The fourth point can be pulled off for a camera, but the smiles fade as the work begins. Whenever you get this many people in a room, certain realities will usually set in:

  1. Pride / ego
  2. Competitiveness
  3. Fear
  4. Defensiveness
  5. Blame (or preparation for blame)

These are all responses to what is typically known by a psychological or emotional term: shame. While the word “shame” falls frequently into these realms, the outcomes of shame find their home in reality – whether in the family, school, or corporate board room.

The outcomes of the shame concept matter in nearly every field including those that believes themselves immune to “touchy feely issues” such as corporate America. The reason is that wherever two people interact, shame responses will come into play. It’s the reality of all creation. And, in corporate America, people are constantly interacting, leveraging, positioning, negotiating, winning and losing.  Motivations are always being jostled and where motivations are engaged, shame is engaged.

Some things we know matter to business:

  1. Employee motivation
  2. Team building / employee moral
  3. Innovation
  4. Customer satisfaction

These things matter because profitability and growth matter and these things drive profitability and growth. If these things matter to you and your business, then shame matters to you and your business because all of them relate to how human beings relate to each other, what motivates them, and how and why people do what they do.

If your organization is interested in having positive interactions with your customers, building cooperative teams that are functioning to their fullest extent and innovating new technologies and ways of doing business, then this hidden driver behind our destructive decisions must be taken seriously.