Employees, Corporate Cultures, and Gilded Cages

Anthony Coppedge
2 min readOct 4, 2023

“A beast in a gilded cage is all some people ever want to be.” — Sting, singer/songwriter

Organizations are comprised of people, a corporate culture with governance, and gilded cages for the perception of control or comfort.

In deeply dysfunctional organizations, the gilded cages are framed as comfort and security for the purpose of controlling those behind the bars. In healthier organizations, the gilded cages are still there, but the doors are left open not by the gatekeepers but by the voluntary occupants who feel that the comfort of what they know and experience is safe but not constricting.

There is a nugget of wisdom in this truth: You can’t change people; people must decide to change themselves.

And if you think that, yes, you can change people through forcing functions, you’re not actually changing the person’s thinking or belief systems but merely their behaviors through circumstances/compliance. Behaviors don’t stay changed until and unless the person sees the value of that change and decides it for themselves.

Don’t worry if you can’t woo people out of their gilded cages of control or comfort; simply show them a preferred future through outcome-oriented thinking and prioritized actions to realize those desired outcomes.

Those who choose to stay in or return to their gilded cages may need time or may not be a part of the movement you’re creating to realize a different future instead of staying in the past.

#ChangeManagement #Mindset #BeliefSystems #CorporateCulture #OKRs #Outcomes #FutureOfBusiness



Anthony Coppedge

I lead the vision for how business agility is infused in Digital Sales at IBM. I relish the chance to sabotage mediocrity.