I work in a big, fast growing organisations. We have a lot of structure and processes and rules to follow. One of the team we work with is more or less permanently "plotting" to get ahead, to get more resources, to go beyond the limits we normally have, to get cover for emergencies created because they promised customers something they could not deliver, and now it's everybody's problem.

We are meant to collaborare in observance of the rules, but this team goes for a "me first" approach, eventually retroactively justifying everything they do because of money.

If we all copied their example, it would be open warfare among the teams in the organisation. Instead, we have one team constantly pulling the blanket in their direction, and the others paying extra attention to avoid ripping the blanket. As the "spoiled team" brings more money, they get away with a lot. On the other hand, other teams are not getting the resources they need, and their growth suffers.

How to work with a team which is constantly breaking the rules to get ahead?

  • 7
    What "rules" are being broken?
    – HorusKol
    Aug 18, 2020 at 22:01
  • 1
    "this team goes for a "me first" approach, eventually retroactively justifying everything they do because of money". This is downright unacceptable, nobody gives them the right to do what they do just because of money. I would consider it a huge red flag, as if they are not alone in this, the company's environment might turn more toxic than it is now
    – TheVal
    Aug 19, 2020 at 11:50
  • Notice if the "bringing more money" is caused by the undermining other teams. If yes then ripping the blanket is the solution. You are used to being under, for them it would be something new. Aug 19, 2020 at 14:45
  • Are the folks in authority aware of how often the "spoiled team" needs to pull in resources from elsewhere to bail themselves out?
    – Ben Barden
    Aug 19, 2020 at 15:51
  • There are, for sure, organisations where rules and processes have grown so unwieldy some need to be put to one side to get anything done, at all. For example, it was at one point estimated it would take IBM 9 months to ship an empty box. If the organisation has become so sclerotic that this is now the only team making any progress, I would suggest the problem is the rules themselves, not the team breaking them. On the other hand, clear legal requirements, etc, are a different issue entirely. More detail on this would help the question a lot. Aug 20, 2020 at 1:46

3 Answers 3


As the "spoiled team" brings more money, they get away with a lot.

There's a hint in there, somewhere.

We all need to learn and understand how things really work at our company, what is rewarded, and what is punished.

Apparently this "spoiled team" has learned something that the other teams have not. Perhaps other teams should figure out how to "bring more money", too.

  • 2
    Bringin in more money does not mean they are justified to break consistently the rules. It is downright unethical, wrong, and sets a really bad precedent. I would consider it a huge red flag
    – TheVal
    Aug 19, 2020 at 11:48
  • @TheVal you're missing Joe's point. The other teams are simply not performing. Perform, and then the rules will become more important Aug 19, 2020 at 14:19
  • @Old_Lamplighter you're missing the OP point. The other teams are not performing also due to the spoiled team. Assuming that every other team follows the rules, and bring in X $, the fact that the spolied team brings 3*X $, making X $ seem "under-performing" is wrong. They are bringing more money but breaking the rules, so comparing performance when different teams use different constraints (rules) is downright illogical
    – TheVal
    Aug 19, 2020 at 14:33
  • @TheVal No, not at all, as evidenced by MY answer Aug 19, 2020 at 14:36
  • @JoeStrazzere I fail to comprehend your statement, because if those rule are set (and I believe for good reasons), then they should be followed by all teams, full stop. Hiding behind "but we make more money this way" is downright wrong and makes the company look VERY bad in my opinion
    – TheVal
    Aug 19, 2020 at 19:00

Money is important, and at the end of the day, if the other teams are NOT bringing in the money, guess who wins.

The obvious solution is to bring the money through ethical means, and also block unethical actions.

If they make messes, let them clean them up

Sometimes you need to let the balls drop, and let the ones who make the messes, clean them up. The reason they are making the money is because others are covering for them.


The messes they are making are actually COSTING the company money in productivity and morale, until that becomes evident, things will not change


I can think of a few options but those are only theorical and may not apply. Their results can only be guesswork even if were familiar with your organisation.

  1. Satus quo: Hubris might make them let them do a mistake so monumental that the actual strategy wont work. Or it might never happen if they become too critical and everyone has to help no matter what.
  2. Non-compliance: Find a way to not participate when they need to be bailed out. This might help motivate people to enforce said rules/code.
  3. Mirroring: Begin pulling more and act similarely. Though this can have adverse effect as there can only be one favorite.
  4. Mass-mimicry: If everyone sees that their way work in the eyes of the administration, try to have everyone gradually behave the same. One group might get away with it, the whole organisation might not.
  5. Make a case: Gather evidence, try to prove that their ways have an worst outcome than perceived due to the fact that even more ressources need to be mobilised to bail them out and it negatively impact the organisation. This is a shot in the dark without needing any changes in behaviour. Could be related to Status Quo.

These are the options that I can think of. Hope this helps.

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