Stopping the Loss

I stopped at an article on NPR.com to see if the article on "An Unrepentant Charlie Sheen" would bear fruit, in regard to a fresh idea.  While his behavior has become like watching a train wreck in progress, I think there are lessons to learn from the leadership side of things, especially in dealing with difficult employees.  

Lo and behold, a quote from the author, Linda Holmes, describing the actions of the management team for Two and A Half Men.  From the article: "They [the management team] voluntarily ripped a key piece of machinery out of one of the most successful money factories on television.  Things actually got that bad."

That's not "#winning" folks.  That's stopping the hemorrhage. At what point in your wildly successful organization does the presence of a key individual become so dysfunctional that you just have to say, "Enough"?  Conversely, I know people who say they would work for any psychopath Chief if the money were right.  But there comes a time when a line must be drawn, as has allegedly occurred in Weirton, WV, according to a post by FireGeezer.com.  

It's tragic that there are people who are "in charge" who exhibit this kind of behavior.  While this individual may have some other issues we don't know about yet, I know of ex-chiefs of departments who have fought employees, threatened them, or just acted like total sociopaths. I know business "leaders" who act similarly to their employees.  Years ago, I had the opportunity to work for one of those psychopaths I refer to and frankly, I took the inconsistent, hypercritical, hypocritical direction for a period of time, then ultimately, parted ways.  I have always been considered a pretty decent employee, if I say so myself, but this guy made no sense to me whatsoever and I knew I could do a better job for someone who was a little more balanced.  So I left.  Ultimately, so did he, but that's a story for another time.

I tell you all the time about leadership and mentoring.  I am positive that even as a buck recruit you can influence and impress others where you can in fact, be considered a leader through positive contributions.  But there are just some people who happen to rise to power and are either corrupted on the way, or didn't have a good sense of values to begin with, who should simply not be in a leadership position.

And forgive me for saying so, but there are people who may have all the right intentions, but simply don't have the chops: they may lack command presence, or conversely, may be too overbearing.  But I can work with someone if they are pointed in the right direction and are willing to allow me to help them go in that direction.  But if we are diametrically opposed in our vision and our values, someone is going to have to change or go.  Unfortunately, in some cases, it might be the forces on the side of "good" having to leave because they can not positively influence the direction the organization is going in.  And no amount of money, fame, or awards will change that.

When you have just started out somewhere, it may be immediately apparent that this isn't the place for you and cutting your losses can be a little easier.  But aside from the investment you have made in an organization, when you have been in the business long enough that you have built up some chips and got your resume positioned correctly, it makes the decision tougher because you really do believe you can turn things around, if you happen to get the chance.  

Successful warriors are so because they choose their battles wisely.  They seek advantage in terrain, timing, and resources.  They attack when they see weakness and they withdraw when they sense resistance.  Just as a skilled butcher doesn't chop through the bones lest he damage his knife, he finds the joints and cuts through those at the weakest points, making the job easier and extending the life of his blade.  So should we seek our opportunities to advance and withdraw, to put forth ideas to improve the service we provide, or back off until the timing is right, or we have the right analysis of our idea, or we have the resources to fund the concept.  But when those elements aren't ever made available, a decision has to be made.  

As I asked earlier, at what point in your wildly successful organization do things become so dysfunctional that you just have to say, "Enough"?

 

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