Divide & Conquer
An excerpt from the book The Transition Game, written by CFOLC member Greg Olney. For more information on Olney, scroll down.
The “Divide & Conquer” strategy can be a good thing if you’re talking about an algorithm set in recursion to divide a problem into sub-problems. A big problem can be answered in an expeditious fashion this way. But when the “Divide & Conquer” approach is used on right relationships, it’s seldom good. Most of the time, people in positions of power will use this technique to stay in power by using:
Meaninglessness – When people in power require useless and meaningless tasks of their subordinates, and those meaningless tasks cost time or expend energy, it reduces the ability of the sub groups to usurp power.
Separation – It could be as simple as the boss saving a very important job or critical task and coming in right before lunch to deliver it to you. If that lunch is planned with a coworker, the chances of any perceived alliance could be thwarted. Worse yet, if that lunch is planned so that you can gather your thoughts and you are disconnected from that plan, then your thoughts are not focused and you are more apt to be controlled by the person in power.
Unholy Alliances – Aiding the enemy because of their willingness to cooperate with certain parts of a plan creates a dependency on the person in power. World powers have propped up regimes that they know are against human rights solely because there is a resource that fits in with that world power’s need.
Distrust – Encouraging distrust between leaders that might join against someone in power disrupts the union. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.” The opposite is true also. If the person in power can foster distrust among his or her constituents, they will not be true to each other. In order to keep their power, people won’t overtly gossip about others behind their back. They’ll make subtle comments about not knowing what their subordinate was thinking, jokingly question motives, or simply say the words, “I don’t know,” with the “w” trailed up and both eyebrows raised, in seeming amazement at their subordinate’s apparent lack of competence. None of these techniques are good for a company or family. They are all just installed to keep power rather than build a great organization. Beware of the people that would divide and conquer by slipping in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert justice into a license to deny principles.
About The Author
Greg Olney is a business and management professional with over 30 years in management of Finance, Operations, Client Service, Project Management, and IT with companies ranging from multi-million dollars to multi-billion dollars. He has consulted with large and small businesses to create new departments, improve service, develop people, and “projectize” organizations.
Greg lives in the Southern California area and utilizes his time with his wife and children while doing volunteer work. He also holds his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance, Real Estate, and Law from the California State University, Long Beach. In the past, he has attained his CPP (Certified Payroll Professional) and insurance licenses. He has expertise in developing people through programs involving Project Management, Leadership, Business Motivation, and industry-centric areas.
He has authored books centered around change management – The Transition Game, Commitment to Change, Why Change Fails, and (yet to be released) Restoration. All of these books describe the model he built about the transitional movement from the status quo to each person’s and organization’s commitment to change. Greg founded a business called GONATELLE, a consulting company, which focuses on Needs Assessment and Transition to the next Echelon while understanding Lessons Learned and Executing solutions. He lives out his purpose and has done presentations for people ranging from prisoners to presidents. His purpose is to affect change in others so that they can do great things.
Recent Articles also written by Greg Olney
About The CFO Leadership Council
The CFO Leadership Council offers both live & online programs that feature expert panels and interactive sessions that drive meaningful conversation and leadership development among our membership. Our collection of leadership development resources similar to this article contain pragmatic insights and advice sourced directly from our members and industry experts. Recordings of CFOLC webcasts are made available to our current CFOLC Premium & Virtual members. Learn about our three-tiered membership options visit www.cfolc.com.
Want to Continue the Conversation?
We’d love to hear from you. Post a comment about your experiences or provide feedback below to continue the discussion.