Feel good about being tough

Feel good about being tough

You owe it to the good to deal with the bad
“As CEO You OWE it to the GOOD to GET RID of the BAD, it’s the only way to Facilitate WINNING”

Others may have expressed it differently, I once heard;

“I wanted a happy culture. So I fired all the unhappy people.”

However you want to say it, factual or fluffy, too many companies put up with employees who are cancerous, slowly destroying all the good and ultimately the company.

This is either due to bad leaders not identifying the problem or even worse cowardly weak leaders who are in denial that the problem exists. Either way, by giving you examples of the type and their effect, I want to persuade you to deal with the problem where and when it arises.

Like many before me, I have inherited dysfunctional Boards and management teams. I have seen first-hand that whole teams can be driven by a very small number, often only one or two individuals who drive a culture in which fear and disinterest, high staff turnover and poor attendance are rife.

This all has a devastating result on the performance of those, who would in other circumstances, perform well.

As a result there will be a higher than necessary HR cost due to sickness management and excess recruitment costs, poor customer service and ultimately have a negative effect on the bottom line.

These individuals are passive aggressive, block innovation and will suck the energy out of any organization, I bet you know this person?

They should not be confused with those that make mistakes and sometimes fail. Mistakes and failure are the lifeblood of long term winning companies.

To help ale the point I’ve created some families as caricatures, I’ll bet you know some of them.

1. The Negatives
Common phrases of the Negatives would be;

  • I have been doing it this way for years and there’s nothing wrong
  • Typical of a new boss, they will be gone soon
  • Can you believe what they want us to do now?
  • When do think we will get time to do this?
  • The boss is clueless.

The Negatives are people who see problems rather than challenges and would never think of considering them as opportunities. They feel persecuted by humans, processes, and inanimate objects, if there is not an immediate problem, they will create one. Problems are their oxygen.

The Negatives are often angry, usually annoyed, and almost always complaining. Just when you think everything is humming along perfectly, they find something, anything, to complain about. If you gave them a bonus they would complain to others that it’s not enough.

The Negatives aren’t looking for opportunities; they are looking for problems. The Negatives are only creative in looking for ways to go backwards. They have been called “Energy Vampires” because they suck positivity out of others. If they are team leaders they will not celebrate a colleagues success, they despise positive, happy, upbeat people.

In the evening after work they probably have fabulous death type conversations with their partners, putting a wall up all around themselves, convinced that the world is the problem, not them.

If you cannot see the effect this can have on your staff and their performance then frankly, you’re just nuts. If you can then you must not tolerate the Negatives, instead send them to the competition.

You owe it to the good to get rid of the bad. You, your colleagues and your company will be rewarded.

Fire the Negatives

2. The Losers
Common phrases of the losers would be;

  • That won’t work.
  • Even if we come up with good ideas, the boss will probably kill it.
  • If he/she doesn’t, the market will.
  • We can’t afford it.
  • I’ve seen this a hundred times before and it never works.

We all know the Henry Ford quote: “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right”

If you set your mind to achieving your goal, and remember, “Persistence is Omnipotent” You will win.

The difference between the winning team that creates and makes ideas happen and the Losers that come up short, is a lack of belief in themselves. Said differently, the winners believe in themselves so have a “Believe and Achieve” attitude, while the Losers doubt themselves so have a “Cant Achieve so won’t Believe” attitude or “Best not Try, we May Lose”

The link between believing and achieving is incredibly powerful and real. Great leaders understand this. They find and promote believers within their organizations. They also understand the destructive effect that nonbelievers have on a team and will cut them out of the organization quickly and without regret.

If you are a leader who wants to win but you have a Losers in your team, you are either a lousy leader or in denial. Either way you are Loser. 

Our teams are a reflection of us, whether we are winners or losers can be seen by our teams and their results. Just saying I’m a winner does not make you one, no more than reading a book on leadership makes you a leader. You have to act.

I believe that “Those who Translate Knowledge and Learning in to Action will become Winners” equally ” Those who go on Courses to gain Certificates then Talk a Good Story but take No Action are Losers”

So which are you? Hands up all the winners!

Fire the Losers.

3. The Know-it-all’s 
Common phrases of the Know-it-all’s would be;

  • You obviously don’t understand the business we are in.
  • The regulations will not allow an idea like this
  • Been there, done that.
  • Don’t even get me started on our IT infrastructure’s inability to support it.
  • And then there is the problem of ….”
  • Last time we tried that ….”

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”
–Shunryu Suzuki

The most exciting people to work with are thinkers and learners, not the Know-it-all’s who kill ideas before they get off the drawing board.

A strong winning culture cannot be built around the Know-it-all’s, they intuitively destroy by considering only the negative aspects of an idea. I once tried De-Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” technique with a Know-it-all and it was like pulling teeth trying to  get them to wear even the “white” (Facts) hat. They could not understand that they were not giving facts but their own prejudiced opinion. They were of course great with the “black” (Negative” hat).

No one likes a Know-it-all no matter what the subject, option, possibility, opportunity, the Know-it-all know’s it! Of course they don’t, they just like to tell you they do.

The Know-it-all’s just like the Negatives and the Losers cannot innovate, they cannot be bothered. The Know-it-all’s are often intelligent and articulate debaters who have a good education and probably just don’t get this work thing.

In school, the one who knows the most gets the best grades, goes to the best university, and begins their work life on the best salary. In the workplace, the person who can figure things out the quickest, asses whether it is working, shrugs their shoulders when it is going wrong and figures out how to correct it, is much more useful and will progress up the ladder far quicker.

Expert blindness has existed forever and there have been many an “Expert” faux pas where if the expert had been prepared to listen to others they and their companies may not have lost out.

Here are a few;

Decca Records rejected The Beatles, saying that “guitar groups are on the way out” and “the Beatles have no future in show business”,

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” —Western Union internal memo, 1876.

“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” —David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

The Know-it-all uses their ability to explain why it won’t work without ever considering the alternatives. They often suffer a lack of self esteem and want to be admired and looks up to.

It is up to you to make sure the Know-it-all’s take they’re draining flat attitude elsewhere.

Fire the Know-it-all’s

Whilst I have found over the years that the Negatives and the Losers are definitely not worth persevering with, you do not have the time.

I have had a few minor wins with the Know-it-all’s but not many, and I’m not sure it was worth the effort when I consider the effect on other team members.

Your HR department will of course tell you of the difficulties that you will encounter in dealing with the Negatives, Losers and Know-it-all’s and of course you must do things correctly.

Be warned though, If you do not deal with the Negatives, Losers and Know-it-all’s, they will probably be proved right. If you own the company you could lose all. If you are inside a company you will lose your job because the company will fail.

It may take a while to fire the Negatives, Losers and Know-it-all’s but it will be a while, less a day, if you begin right now.

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