The Invisible Dictator - Deepstash
The Invisible Dictator

The Invisible Dictator


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Default mode

Default mode

The default mode in your company or organisation you're part of dictates a lot of dynamics inside an organisation on three main levels:

  • Personal default mode. Every person has a default mode at work. It is their comfort zone of what they do the most, such as talking or working on a computer.
  • Processes. Companies need hardcoded processes. When the process works and people's default mode aligns with the process, the company works well together.
  • Company culture. The default mode of how people behave in an organisation.


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Personal default mode

Think about what modes you have in your company? What modes do your colleagues have? For example, in an office, the main modes would be "talking with people" and "doing things on a computer."

If you do more talking, your main responsibilities are possibly passing information, organizing people, making decisions. You are most likely in a leadership position. If you spend more time with a computer, you probably do the actual work.


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Implications of the personal mode

Implications of the personal mode

  • People require more effort and control to do a task or activity that's not part of their default mode. If you need someone to do something outside of their default mode, start with small steps and slowly introduce the new activity.
  • When hiring people, try to identify what's their personal default mode. Ask what their typical day at work looked like? What tasks would they prefer to avoid?
  • When there are no clear goals and instructions, most people focus on doing what they're good at or most comfortable with instead of what the company needs. E.g. overengineering in tech companies.


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Processes are a double-edged sword

Most organisations need hardcoded processes for the company to work as a well functioning machine. 

However, processes create habits. People who carry out processes stop thinking critically. When processes are too strict without a degree of autonomy and feedback, the organisation will run on old habits.


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Company culture

There are acceptable default behaviours, "how we do things here" which people learn through osmosis and which can become habitual. If an organisation is not pro-actively defining its culture, it will assume whatever default modes there happen to be. For example:

  • Do people trust their colleagues by default or exercise caution?
  • What's the default atmosphere in the organisation? Are people excited to show up at work?
  • Do people care about their work, or do they just tick checkboxes?


38 reads



Learning about conflict resolution, rapport-building, decision-making and teamwork.

Designing a company culture is essential in any organisation. Whatever is the default mode will rule.

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