There recently was a train derailment just outside of town and several cars left the track. We were talking about what caused this, and learned that with the change of seasons the tracks expand or contract. If the tracks contract too much, a small gap can impact the smooth flow of the wheels and tilt the cars.
This hit home with me as I personally experienced the impact of a small heave in the sidewalk. While the height gap between one panel and another was only an inch, it was enough to send me off balance and “derailing” onto the cold concrete.
What is true for railroad cars and walkers also applies to organizational cultures. Train tracks and sidewalks remind us that a small misalignment can cause big consequences. Railways have inspectors that are continually checking the tracks for any gaps. Leaders should do the same and vigilantly take steps to keep small cracks from derailing their organization’s effectiveness or morale.