An old VP once told me there’s not much you can ever hope for by instituting numerous rules in your organization unless you learn the art of diverting peer pressure through the right channels. At the time I thought this sounded as ridiculous as it was cynical. It took many years for the wisdom of these words to dawn upon me. We are all products of our environment - bred, raised and conditioned by it. More often than not our thoughts and actions are reflections of the thoughts and actions of myriads before us who have collectively created the social medium we call culture. Very few of us manage briefly break free as individuals and add something new to this pool of behavioral patterns. It takes an astounding level of arrogance for someone to truly believe they are not part of this cultural web, that they weave their own pattern, roll their own dice. As a great man once said none of us is really an island, we are all part of a continent.
Peer pressure is the key for crafting out a well-oiled team. As a gentle ocean current it patiently shapes the ocean’s very character. One needs to closely observe many subtle signs emerging as a result of individual interactions, gauge the dynamics between every stakeholder, particularly the key players, and artfully push the group to the desired goal – releasing strain over here, adding pressure over there, applying an occasional policy in the time of crisis, genuinely encouraging initiative and never separating oneself from the rest. I am perfectly aware it sounds borderline manipulative but the key is to never sacrifice the ethical integrity of the team for the sake of efficiency. Success is most often orchestrated, not goaded to.