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What’s the number one indicator that your organization’s culture transformation efforts are doomed to fail?

When leadership doesn’t take action on the toxic “top performers”.

You know who they are:

  • The rainmaker who closes all the deals, but is a bully to their colleagues.
  • The industry expert who maintains valuable contacts, but manages to sneak in racist or misogynistic comments.
  • The brilliant product specialist who produces leading-edge solutions but disrupts every meeting with aggressive outbursts.
  • Maybe–maybe–it’s even the founder who is held captive by ego and can’t get out of their leaders’ way.

If you’re engaging in a culture development or transformation effort–or just thinking about it because you know you have work to do when it comes to organizational culture–you must be willing to take action on employees whose behavior contributes to a toxic environment, no matter how much value you think they provide or revenue you’re afraid you’ll lose.

The irony is that once you remove the toxicity, you allow room for others to step up and step forward, for greater innovation and collaboration. Likely even stronger results.

You won’t even miss that individual that you thought you couldn’t risk losing.

But if you’re not convinced, then I recommend you toss in the towel on creating a healthy, sustainable, and psychologically safe culture.

Because your actions speak louder than words.
And not taking action is an action indeed.

PS–Before anyone says it, yes you first work with these individuals to address their behavior and give them a chance to course correct. You do that with absolute good intention. But if nothing changes, you take action.

I’m a leadership team whispererexecutive coach, and speaker. I guide leadership teams in high-growth companies to achieve rapid growth in a healthy, sustainable way. I coach senior leaders to discover the path to lead with ease.

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