David vs. Goliath: Speaking up in Fear Based Cultures

April 28, 2021

Two decades ago, the interview by Oprah with Meghan and Harry would have been unthinkable.  It’s about a couple calling out alleged mistreatment by a long-revered “institution”.  However, it’s representative of sweeping changes being made in our culture today.  Think about those who created the MeToo Movement, Colin Kaepernick kneeling to protest police brutality resulting in the NFL reversing the decision to ban this peaceful protest, and survivors of abuse taking on the Catholic church.  The courage of a few combined with social media has shown a bright light on institutional wrongs and is causing some of the biggest shifts in public sentiment.

Like David and Goliath, the Davids are winning or, at least, forcing a public reckoning.

As culture transformation professionals we’ve had first-hand experience partnering with leaders to create the kind of culture where people love to come to work.  On the other hand, we’ve seen companies turn strong, smart adults into survivors who’ve learned nothing good can come of questioning or challenging the “institution”.  “Flying under the radar” and “swimming below the surface” are phrases frequently used in these fear-based cultures.

It’s time to find the David in us.  One voice makes a difference when it’s thoughtful and respectful.  Even in a fear-based culture, speak up.  It can make a difference for others.  And, if there’s no response or even retribution, know there is a world of wonderful organizations who are waiting for courageous contributors.  Besides, doing the right thing is always the right thing.