The biggest thing holding your company back may not be something typical like talent or technology. It’s not something like cash flow, infrastructure or process. The biggest thing holding your company back, might be something you haven’t even considered. It might be gossip.
I’m a pretty laid back guy. I’m not a micro-manager. I’m a big believer that an organization needs to be able to talk freely, move freely and think freely. In interviews when I’m asked what my management style is, I respond with the same answer. I believe you need to:
- Inform: Give your teammate all the information they need to make a well informed decision.
- Recommend: I indicate how I’d handle the situation.
- Empower: Ultimately, let them know it’s their call and they can take your recommendation or go in a different direction.
- Support: Once they make a decision, so long as it’s not going to be a train-wreck, I openly support and defend their decision.
- Review: We then get together to review their approach and how it played out.
In short, I’m pretty open and very flexible. If you need to work from home, cool. If you want to sit in a different cube/office, cool. Want a MAC instead of a PC, cool. I focus on eliminating excuses to ensure there’s no reason you can’t be a high performing member of a high performing team.
I can tolerate a lot from people. But, one thing I will never tolerate in an organization is gossip. Gossip can kill an organization. It can strangle it. It can create massive rifts and stunt progress. Gossip is a poison, that once unleashed can infect an entire organization. Gossip spreads like a virus. Left unchecked, it can and will cripple an organization and eventually tear a team apart. That’s why you have to move swiftly to eliminate the people creating the gossip.
Zappos often talks about the idea of hiring slowly, but firing quickly. I happen to agree with the sentiment. And with me, the one sure fire way to get yourself “let go” is to be a gossiper. I can tolerate a great deal. I can deal with C+ level performance for a person that’s an A+ in driving company culture; especially if they’re invested and working to turn that C+ into a B. But, someone who’s chipping away at the company culture has to go. Culture, while not easily definable or measurable, is very important to driving results. You can’t let gossip destroy that culture. My advice to you, is stomp out the gossipers. Trust me, they’re easy to find…because they’re always talking…and they always think no one is listening.