Three Effective Ways to Create a Cynical Culture


Share on LinkedIn

In organizations, cynicism arises amid negligence, and it only takes one cynical employee to ensure cynicism will spread into the hearts and minds of everyone else.

Unlike other corporate initiatives, cynicism does not require sponsorship from top executives. Nor does it require consensus and acceptance by all.

All it takes are a few woeful leaders who neglect their role and fail to engage employees. These leaders essentially become hosts helping to spread the epidemic – along with the following ingredients:

1. Hopelessness is key –

To spread cynicism, make sure your employees have no vision of the future. Narrow their focus on short-term profit generation and stockholder value. Such an approach will kill any hope for creating a better future and making an impact on the world.

2. Helplessness is mandatory –

Take away your employees’ decision-making power. Reduce their authority to a minimum and require three signatures on every expense over $50.

Be sure to fire employees who take initiative, and make certain that every decision gets reviewed by you and all top executives.

Top this reduction in authority with a seminar on employee empowerment and you’ve just sealed the deal. They will laugh so hard there will be nothing to stop them from becoming inescapably cynical.

3. Promote Lack of Trust, Everywhere –

Make sure your employees know you do not care about them. Ensure they understand everyone‘s top priority is to take care of themselves; that all leaders and coworkers have their own best interests at heart and they too should follow suit.

Reduce trust to zero and you’ve just cleared the runway for a fast departure into “Cynicism Land” where your employees will adapt their behavior accordingly.

There is Still Hope

Many executives treat cynicism as a mystery. They view it as phenomena they have no control, over – but as the ones that created the culture, they also have the power to fix it.

By understanding the ways in which cynicism is developed they can directly address the causes and change the fate of their organization.

How do you do this?

  • Create powerful world-changing vision.
  • Inspire your people by letting them know how their work makes an impact on the world.
  • Do not focus on stockholders. Focus on customers. Express how customers benefit from the value employees deliver.
  • Provide employees with the tools and the authority to get their job done. Give them the power to freely decide on how to deliver on the vision.
  • If you do not trust a potential hire, do not hire them.
  • Do not belittle your employees. This is not how companies make an impact on the world.
  • Demonstrate generosity. Do something for them and develop trust through acts of generosity. Your generosity will inspire them, and all of the sudden, cynicism will be replaced by positive attitudes and collaboration.

Cynicism is not a mystery. It is a result of negligence. It is an outcome of policies that ignore and reduce the employee into a tiny screw in the big machine. Reverse those policies, instill clear vision, and demonstrate generosity so that you will effectively uproot cynicism from its core.

Cynicism kills performance, morale, engagement, innovation and profits. Do something about it, and do it quickly. Every day that your customers are engaged with cynical employees is a day you lose profits, business, and customers.

Not only is cynicism not a mystery, it comes with a clear and real price tag.

It’s time to kill cynicism before it kills you.

Lior Arussy
One of the world’s authorities on customer experience, customer centricity, and transformation, Lior Arussy delivers results. His strategic framework converts organizations from product- to customer-centricity. It is drawn from his work with some of the world’s leading brands: Mercedes-Benz, Royal Caribbean, Delta Air Lines, MasterCard, Novo Nordisk, Walmart and more.Arussy is also the author of seven books, including Next Is Now (May 2018)


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here