Innovative companies need innovative working people – and to get rid of someone…

team working people innovationI found this old post on Bloomberg Businessweek: I guess it’s higlhy provoking and gives acid, harsh feelings to a lot of people but, in the end, I guess there’s a lot of truth in these words.

“I wanted a happy culture. So I fired all the unhappy people.” —A very successful CEO (who asked not to be named)

Show of hands: How many of you out there in Innovationland have gotten the “what took you so long?” question from your staff when you finally said goodbye to a teammate who was seemingly always part of problems instead of solutions?

We imagine a whole bunch of hands. (Yep, ours went up, too.)

These people—and we’re going to talk about three specific types in a minute—passive-aggressively block innovation from happening and will suck the energy out of any organization.

When confronted with any of the following three people—and you have found it impossible to change their ways, say goodbye.

Authors Maddock and Vitón invite companies to get rid (at once) of these three kind of people:

  • victims: Victims aren’t looking for opportunities; they are looking for problems. Victims can’t innovate.
  • Nonbelievers: If you are a leader who says your mission is to innovate, but you have a staff that houses nonbelievers, you are either a lousy leader or in denial.
  • Know-It-Alls: The best innovators are learners, not knowers. The same can be said about innovative cultures; they are learning cultures.

The post even includes some well-konwn quotes from “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” —Western Union internal memo, 1876.

And “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” —David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

At one point in his career, Thomas A. Edison had dozens of inventors working for him at the same time. He charged each with the task of failing forward and sharing the learning from each discovery. All of them needed to believe that they were part of something big. You want the same sort of people.

On the other side, I’d like to quote Guy Kawasaki (venture capitalist+manager+communicator master+great mind): “A-level managers always choose AA-level people in their teams”.

Provided that I do my very best not to be part of any of the above three categories, it’s not just about landing a job, it’s about life…

[Via Bloomberg Businessweek]

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