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Will F

The problem is recognizing the type-4. In my experience, the people who could plainly see the asshole were not the ones empowered to fire him.

The asshole behaved very differently (kissing-up) with upper management, who were clueless.

Firing the type-4's is a great idea - if you have upper managers that don't have their heads up their asses.

Carl G.

Walker got it right! The book by Jerome Alexander is a quick and interesting read. Alexander may be a maverick to the corporate elite but he struck gold with me. I've experienced the same jerks in my many years of working. Just never thought about how institutionalized they had become. This should be required reading in management bootcamp!


Highly recommended reading: "160 Degrees of Deviation: The Case for the Corporate Cynic" by Jerome Alexander. Corporate types and their toadies hate this book! Real life Managers identify with it. Alexander really has some insight into makes bad managers tick.

Alexander Kjerulf

I couldn't agree more Bob - and my personal experience backs this up.

I co-founded an IT company back in 1997 and when we hired new colleagues, we looked for Brains, Attitude and Heart.

We wanted smart people and we wanted people who thought about the way they worked. But equally, we wanted to hire nice people.

One new hire actually decided to apply for work with us precisely because of this fact.

During the whole dot-com time it was pretty difficult to find good, experienced software developers, but we refused to lower our standards - we'd rather wait for the right person than hire the wrong one.

The result: We did great work and had a great time. This story is in the past tense, because we sold the company in 2002.

ann michael

"Very often they kiss up and kick down." Priceless phrase!

It's not surprising there would be similarities between the books - they did come from the same brain!

I loved Weird Ideas - can't wait to read No Assholes (finally ordered it today!).


Interesting indeed. We have to consider the legalities of firing jerks ? Sigh. There's a bigger set of questions at work here, which I almost commented on in the damage done so let me parse them. And precede comments by speculating that this blog is not just good marketing but potentially a great research tool in terms of ideas, examples, contacts and data if it evolves. Let’s hope so. In particular the NoAxx’rs Rule seems to have either struck a widespread chord leading to a chorus or it’s just who you’re getting to visit and the data’s biased.

I suspect some sample error but also that you’ve opened up a door onto a widespread problem that needs to be better addressed by us all. We can start by admitting that we’ve all been there, subject to minions of the Darkside (hereinafter Darkones) and perhaps even gone there a time or three ourselves. But the problem is much bigger than that and has personal impacts, really controls how workgroups function, the efficiency and efficacy of organizations and enterprises and thereby, ultimately, it’s value and viability.

Consider two fun examples. If you review the special features of the extended Lord of the Rings you’ll find a workteam viscerally committed to the story, to doing their best, sharing a common vision, working long, hard hours and going ‘above and beyond’ to truly deliver an exceptional product. Because they are energized by a shared vision and that vision includes how they are treated and treat others well as how they’re recognized and rewarded.

A bit of a contrast would be last week’s episode of “The Unit”, which is a TV Drama based a little too closely on Delta Force and does a fair job of depicting the homefront tensions, the backoffice conflicts as well ash the frontline adventures. You’ll have to check with your local SpecOps neighbors to validate how accurate but it strikes me as not unreasonable. In last weeks’ episode a key member of the team has been captured and is being tortured to gain the release of a Georgian terrorist who hasn’t talked for six months. When the team browbeats the national intell command into agreeing to his release they renege when that threat causes him to start singing.

How the team maneuvers the bureaucrat into getting them a hostage and rescuing their own guy will be left for you to experience. What the ‘national interest comes first’ so let our guy die decision missed is that the utility of the team depends absolutely on team cohesion, which in turn depends on trust, loyalty and mutual support. Violating that trust is not only like being a little bit pregnant but also destroys the long-term viability of the unit.

Now why would a smart executive want to spend a carefully nurtured asset that appreciates in value for one short-term gain ?

Dave Livingston

Warren Miller

It's worth noting that Harvard Business Review sent Ms. Welch packing.

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