Fear or Vision – Two Cultures with Different Results


I usually run into two types of organizations.

Vision driven organizations who look to gain influence.

Fear driven companies who try not to lose influence.

Fear driven and vision driven organizations have diametrically distinct cultures that create starkly different results.

Fear driven companies usually have two styles of leadership.

This first is the motivation by fear style. This is where leadership uses punitive measures to grow business, achieve performance, or exert their individual influence over varying individuals across the company. This type of culture may lead to short term results. However over the long haul, as disengagement and turnover manifest, productivity and trust start to erode which show the toxic nature of this type of leadership. It can also be called fear-driven. The Chicago-based water faucet company that installed swipe cards on their bathrooms to limit restroom breaks tried to instill fear of increasing productivity by limiting bathroom breaks embodies this type of culture.

The other type of fear driven company is the one that is held back by fear. This is the type of company that is afraid to get out of their comfort zone, fearful to spend money, or nervous about taking risks. On a smaller scale these are individuals who are afraid they can’t afford the negative online review or to spend a few dollars to invest in their fledgling business. In the larger organizations, these are leadership teams that are afraid to embrace shifting industries, or blossoming technologies. Companies with this culture miss opportunity, and are held back from stretching themselves and their people to see what they can truly achieve. Blockbuster Video is a good example of a fear-driven company that was held back by this cultural mindset.

Visionary organizations are much different in their view of themselves. Yes, the best visionary organizations have a view towards the future, and even have a wider view of the market and world landscape they sense is developing. But they also see their very own culture in a visionary way. By and large these organizations see their people as vital to their success, valued individuals with a voice, and as persons on which they can trust and depend on. Fear driven companies do not possess nor have the capacity in their current state to be visionary both externally and internally.

Small companies such as Mainstay Technologies and Cornerstone have a deep culture of vision for their industry coupled with a vision for their people. This vision drives their standing in their industries and separate themselves form their competitors. Mainstay’s vision of positively impacting every life they touch and Cornerstone’s pursuit of people who are well-rounded, self confident, and creative personify what vision driven organizations do. They define a culture of long-lasting excellence and success, no matter how large or small they may be.

Don’t let fear drive your organization. Replace it with a vision so large that there is no room for fear.

(image: pxhere)

About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on January.21.2018, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I started leading by being visionary and yet employees taking advantage and not producing even in a smaller scale. What do you do? Please advice. Thank you..


    • Without knowing the details or variables of your situation, I would ask how long have you been visionary? Any culture or behavior changes takes time, but most importantly, the proper framework. Many times visionary cultures don;t work with a team that is opposed to it. But many times – with planning, communication, and individually finding those who start to catch the vision – the change starts to roll forward.

      As soon as you see anyone who shares the same vision, leverage them by making them a ‘culture champion” and give them steps to foster and gain momentum in being visionary. Once others besides yourself start on the same path, it then becomes contagious and you’ll see greater and more far-reaching results.

      Devise a plan ot get everyone exposed to the vision over time. Train, teach, and be patient.

      I would recommend theese great books: The Culture Engine by S. Chris Edmonds, Start with Why by Simon Sinek, and Connection Culture by Michael Lee Stallard. Great resources to help you on your way.


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