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“I wanted a happy culture. So I fired all the unhappy people.”
—A very successful CEO (who asked not to be named)
We (your authors) teach our children to work hard and never, ever give up. We teach them to be grateful, to be full of wonder, to expect good things to happen, and to search for literal and figurative treasure on every beach, in every room, and in every person.
But some day, when the treasure hunt is over, we’ll also teach them to fire people. Why? After working with the most inventive people in the world for two decades, we’ve discovered the value of a certain item in the leadership toolbox: the pink slip.
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.
1. The Victims
“Can you believe what they want us to do now? And of course we have no time to do it. I don’t get paid enough for this. The boss is clueless.”
Victims are people who see problems as occasions for persecution rather than challenges to overcome. We all play the role of victim occasionally, but for some, it has turned into a way of life. These people feel persecuted by humans, processes, and inanimate objects with equal ease—they almost seem to enjoy it. They are often angry, usually annoyed, and almost always...