In most organizations there are the “untouchables,”  they cannot be challenged or even looked at in the wrong way.  Sometimes they are “lucky sperm” that are the relative of an owner.  Other times it is the “in” crowd in management.  Still others are the group that were brought in by new management.  Regardless, the attitude they bring to management is a “don’t cross me . . . but groveling is accepted and expected.”

Usually management types, these are people imbedded – like a low-hooking golf ball hit by a 2-iron that lands in the soft bank of a river – in the hierarchy.  They run welding their power like Attila the Hun.  Evidence?  Reason?  All out the window with these types, they are unchallengeable.

Some brown-nose and most lie because there is no repercussion as they are authority.  This is the politics of fear and position.

The untouchables are a huge barrier to improving systems.  They take the eye off of the customer, evidence and learning to defend position.  Everything is about winning and losing . . . arguments, coercion and position win the day.

They are killing your culture and service organization.

Left unchallenged, instead of innovation you get brown-nosing and a culture of “tell me what I want to hear.”  The truth is buried in a sea of proverbial BS and CYA.

There is at least one way for leaders to break up the kingdom.  Executives need to focus on the work, going to the work working with front-line workers destroys the hierarchy and the “untouchables” with it.

Dismantling is easy because everyone knows what is really important when executives spend time in the work.  Evidence and truth replaces lies and posturing.  Culture improves because there are fewer dark places for the “untouchables” to hide . . .  salt and light replaces them.  Like throwing water on the Wicked Witch of the West.

Ultimately, management has many paths to choose from in how they will operate.  The best path is the well lit one.  The one that focuses on customer purpose, the work, evidence and method.  All else is just waste.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Read his articles at Quality Digest and his column for  Learn more about the Vanguard Method for service organizations.  Reach him on Twitter at LinkedIn at