People Are Crazy

“God is great. Beer is good. People are crazy.”

—Billy Currington, country singer

Not my favorite country song, but I like the line. I don’t feel qualified to address the “God” assertion, but I’ve had my share of beer (and brew my own) and have worked with some crazy people. Been one myself a few times, I suppose.

Technology, automation and digital disruption dominate discussions when speaking with many CEOs, but the most interesting challenge involves the people. How do I best engage my people? How do I foster commitment rather than just compliance? How do I get their heads and hearts into the work along with their hands? And, of course, how do I deal with the crazy ones?

I’ve been coaching executives — most of them CEOs — for a long time. We talk about many things, but in almost every assignment the discussion eventually turns to the problem on their team. Let’s call him “Joe.”

Joe is one or some of the following: disloyal, disruptive, abrasive, self-absorbed, whiny, untrustworthy, unaware and selfish. Do you know this guy?

One of the worst things you can do for your business is to make accommodations for Joe. A team will eventually sink toward the level of its worst player — a regression toward Joe. It’ll also lose its enthusiasm, commitment and enjoyment. Your avoidance of the Joe issue is painful for all.

It’s also not right for Joe. When you’re a jerk or selfish, you should hear about it.  You should get a short period to fix it. And if you don’t, you should be shown the door. There are other jobs that can accommodate Joe. Counting grizzly bears in the deep woods of Montana comes to mind. Or maybe send him to your competitor.

Every time one of my clients eventually deals with Joe, there’s a sense of relief. Every time.

Is Joe on your team? Those bears are waiting to be counted. Set him free.

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  • Lisa Hamaker

    5:51 am October 11, 2017

    Well said Todd, as always! What a great topic to address since the job market is tight and leaders are sometimes hesitant to set people free. I have done this twice in my career and both times the rest of the team was so relieved and energized to have the negative influence gone that they rallied and filled in–possibly accomplishing more!

    In one case Joe found a job better suited to him and flourished.

    Thanks! Lisa

    • Todd Ordal

      2:44 pm October 11, 2017

      My experience as well, Lisa! Thank you.