As we enter another new year, we should take stock of what we have and decide what to keep and what to throw away. That’s something we should all do at home, and at work too. To start 2012, I would like to take some of us back to 2007, when I first read this very insightful book that shoots from the hip and makes no bones about a scourge common to companies all the over world: the corporate asshole.
Dear readers, if you haven’t already, please seek out and read The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t by Harvard professor Robert Sutton, which starts out with an explication of the typical corporate asshole and then works toward a prescription for its remedy.
Why do I find it necessary to talk about this book right now? Because somehow many executives today–at least among those I have been meeting in the last four years–do not quite seem to appreciate just how seriously having assholes reign in their organisations can damage their businesses.
As the few of you make your way to your nearest bookstore or set your browsers to amazon.com and fish your credit cards out from your wallets (I hope), I would like to draw your attention to a checklist Sutton put together in that book, under the heading, What’s Your TCA? Factors to Consider When Calculating the Total Cost of Assholes to Your Organisation, wherein he lists the many ways assholes can hurt not just the people they work for and with, but ultimately damage the enterprises they purportedly represent.
In this checklist, under the subheading, When Assholes wwReign: Negative Effects on Organisations, lists the following adverse affects on organisations with assholes as a whole: impaired improvement in established systems; reduced innovation and creativity; reduced cooperation and cohesion; reduced ‘discretionary’ effort; dysfunctional internal cooperation; costs of victims’ retribution toward the organisation; impaired cooperation from outside organisations and people; higher rates charged by outsiders—‘combat pay’ for working with assholes; and, impaired ability to attract the best and brightest.
What do you, dear readers, think about that?
I leave you with that question as we begin this fresh new year. When you’re done thinking it over, please comment on this page.
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