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  • Writer's pictureJilian Houghton

Don't Quit Your Job, Quit the Toxic Culture

In the beginning, there was conflict.


It’s the oldest story in the book, two brothers fought and civilization was forever divided.

Once upon a time, a wicked stepmother oppressed a princess and the kingdom crumbled.

Even more familiar, a lazy classmate got credit for the group project and enemy lines were drawn. Conflict is universal, but its harmful effects don’t have to be.

So long as human beings continue to interact with one another, conflict is expected. On average, an employee is involved in conflict approximately 2.8 hours each week. That adds up to $359 billion in paid hours or 385 million working days. (based upon $17.95/hr)* The lasting effects of conflict can be change and advancement, or dysfunction and loss.


Over the last 25 years working in the professional arena, we have seen seemingly small disagreements and differences become entrenched, long-term conflict. One wronged party accuses the other of an orchestrated effort to undermine and sabotage them. Colleagues take sides, and the workplace culture descends into gossip, uncivil communication, and dysfunction. Even the most talented and committed of teams can be plagued by conflict. In the United States last year, over 60,000 employment discrimination lawsuits were filed, and many of us weren't even working in the same room as our co-workers thanks to Zoom.*


It was in the trenches of employment law as a trial attorney (representing first plaintiffs and then defendants) that Gerry, our President, realized that by the time his clients called him it was too late: the damage was too deep, relationships broken, and the conflict too great.


And thus–"The Wedge"–was born.


Wedges are the byproduct of harmful conflict. They can start small but snowball into extremely divisive and destructive forces within relationships. When wedges are left unattended, resentment and conflict begins to characterize relationships. When wedges are effectively identified and removed, the relationship not only becomes one that is effective and harmonious again, but many report that with the newly acquired wedge removal skills they are able to optimize all of their workplace relationships.


We are not mediators. And to be frank, we don’t ever want to be. There is a time and place for compromise, but when it comes to removing wedges we need to call it like it is. Our aim is to put a stop to problematic behavior patterns, to foster effective communication, and to develop new, interpersonal patterns.


Many times, given the nature of the conflict whether it be the parties involved, the political complications, or the history of the situation, it may be difficult to address the situation in house.

All is not lost. By utilizing an outside consultant with expertise in conflict resolution, these matters can be more effectively moved toward long-term sustained positive change.


Wedge removal is a process that the 34th Street team has developed and refined for decades. Using our Wedge Removal Formula™ and other proprietary approaches, we help leadership, teams, and individuals understand the importance of behavioral expectations and ensure accountability of all employees within the structure created. We develop training and team building education sessions tailored to those involved in the situation and we facilitate individual wedge removal sessions. These individual sessions are often needed to allow the healing process to begin and the employees the opportunity to effectively adhere to the newly established behavioral expectations.


We believe in you, your teams, and your organization. You have worked hard to put the right people in the right roles to succeed and achieve your objectives. We want to help you get there by optimizing your workplace relationships.


Workplace relationships can be good again. For years we have been empowering teams to not only press forward with greater effectiveness, but to also assist others in the organization to do likewise. You and your team are entitled to a workplace free of bullying and unprofessional conduct. Our solutions provide accountability and create a culture where employees at all levels know they are valued and set up for success.


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