CYA Culture is Killing Competitiveness, Progress, and Engagement in Corporate America

Have you ever wondered how you could create ripples of change in the current corporate paradigm?


  • People are sick of corporate initiatives with catchphrases that amount to nothing actually changing for the better.
  • There is a fundamental lack of trust in corporate leadership.
  • The resistance to change stifles progress and much-needed evolution. Some people have their invincibility cloak on, deflecting all change that might make their “baby” obsolete.
  • As more and more ideas get shut down, creativity is discouraged and stops.
  • High performance in many companies is a perception based on who earns the most praise, works on the most visible projects, receives the most pats on the back, and seems to be doing better than the next person, which suppresses willingness to bring awareness to the issues that need to be resolved.
  • In some companies, the default behavior is to insist everything is great, or else other departments will use your weakness to their advantage and make you the scapegoat for performance failures. This creates/reinforces silos! It breeds the attitude: “Let’s deal with this problem among ourselves vs. let’s get the best knowledge in the company working on this bottleneck” and stifles growth and productivity.
  • Even in a company that is fantastic about professional development and helping people get to the next level, the lack of space to be real about breakdowns prevents breakthroughs.

Then you have highly promoted leaders who have not adequately worked through their stuff to become more self-aware and emotionally intelligent. These leaders are motivated to make decisions that protect their status over doing the right thing.

This motivation is dangerous for everyone – it’s especially dangerous for the company! It opens up huge risk factors in terms of compliance while also damaging engagement, morale, and retention of true high performers who value making a real contribution toward progress and solutions.

In cases like this, true high performers may then be conditioned to believe that they’re so lucky to be part of a big picture where there is a lot of incentive to grow professionally. Meanwhile, unconscious leaders decide not to be authentic about issues (including personal issues that impact productivity) and look for scapegoats to deflect any potential negative attention.

A leader can only be as empathetic as they are aware.

Few people have had the experience of being able to be honest with their boss about why they lose motivation – if they are even aware of why themselves. Often, people suffer silently with these issues. They may recover and it may seem as though it was just a temporary slump, but the reasons for that slump don’t go away. Those reasons can manifest in other ways, influence decisions to act or not act, and keep people in a loop that they never escape in order to grow to the next level consciously, even if they still grow professionally.

It seems for the sake of job security and professional growth, as well as financial growth, whole workforces are willing to accept these conditions as business [politics] as usual.

And you know what…

There’s no sense trying to get buy-in from people who have been duped before.

Corporate America needs a complete overhaul, and it won’t happen overnight.

  1. Integrity has to be restored in a meaningful, authentic way.
  2. Individuals need enhanced self-awareness to know from what emotion and mental state they are making decisions.
  3. We need leaders who are willing to show their imperfections, build trust and rapport, and create the space that allows others to show their imperfections as well, promoting progress over perfection.

Companies who perpetuate the CYA culture are not as stable as they appear; they are covering up cracks all over the infrastructure that they are afraid to reveal. They are not providing anyone with genuine job security.

Have you overheard or even had these conversations?

“Why didn’t they listen to me?! We wouldn’t be in this mess if they had.”


“The executives are so out of touch with our customers’/front lines’ reality. They keep making decisions in a vacuum, and we all suffer because of it.”


“Everyone’s so busy covering their a**, I don’t know if or how anything is actually getting done.”

Do you want to know what usually happens next? These employees contact someone like me to help them find and nurture greener pastures… and they find them, though there simply are not enough of them for everyone.

It always bothered me to know that as I help these brilliant corporate climbers escape their situations, they were leaving casualties behind. Some of these companies are supposedly out to do big, important things in this world, and you’d think their standards of leadership would be higher.

While it may seem logical that the mass exodus from corporate America may be halted due to COVID-19, what we’ve seen in the previous national crisis of 9/11 is that people quit their jobs in record numbers because they realize what really matters – health, family, and being able to look at yourself in the mirror for the rest of your life.

Leaders right now are scared about their own job security. They’re also concerned about the productivity of their teams and losing talent.

What can you do about it?

Most people think there’s nothing they can do.

There is a dominant atmosphere of resignation that corporate politics and bureaucracy just goes along with being a corporate drone.

This feeling of resignation is dangerous. Right now, it is more evident than any other time in our human history that resignation enables the powers that stifle progress. Ego, self-preservation, and idle busyness keep us from working toward what CAN be achieved and what few have achieved.

“Let those who love peace be as organized as those who love war.”  – MLK, Jr.

What we need are pioneers willing to learn, apply, and teach a better way to lead – a corporate conscious leadership blueprint, if you will. We’ve got it! Our corporate leadership program has been 3 years in the making.

We need people who are starting to see clearly that correcting the course serves their kids more than complying with it for the sake of job security.

Where are you, my good leaders? Who is willing to work from the inside up and out to create ripples of change in the current corporate paradigm?

For those concerned about your job and your financial security – this is a valid concern.

That’s why there is a safety net built into this program.

You will likely find that your attempts to create ripples of consciousness at your job is met by resistance. In our program, you will be taught how to gracefully disarm this resistance. It will absolutely work magically in many situations, but not all.

You are up against some formidable, powerful systems that will feel threatened by any attempts of change. We will teach you how to implement a support team well before you take on these systems, and you will have a community of people in this program who will have your back!

Still, this is a long-game. If you find that where you are is just not the best place to spread your new conscious leadership wings, we’ll put you on a transition track. At any time, you can switch tracks so that we can professionally brand you and set up an efficient, highly effective career campaign that will put you not only on more stable ground financially in a company that is willing to invest in real solutions vs. Band-Aids, but you will also be blazing a much better trail for our youth to follow and replicate. Maybe, by the time they reach the corporate ladder, they’ll find that the heights of the top rungs are a less precarious place to be with a view worth climbing toward.

Message me at, or tag someone below in the comments section who has the courage to be a beacon of change and is an example for others to follow.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (, is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

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