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We take our dogs for a walk almost every day. One thing figured out a long time ago is micro-to-small sized dogs get very aggressive when they see other dogs. So much so I’d guess 80% of the time their owners pull them off to the side, as they know what’s going to happen.
Very considerate of them. However, it’s what happens next that’s the real issue. Most of the time we’ll hear something like, “No, no, don’t do that” in a uplifting, positive, and friendly tone. Of course dogs don’t know all these words but they do know tonality, so they hear, “Good, keep it up, I love you.” And the owners wonder why this behavior never changes because, after all, they admonish their dog every time it happens.
Do you do this in your business? Do you enable bad or mediocre behavior from employees, customers, or vendors (and even service providers)? Do you let it slide because Shirley’s been a loyal employee for years? Or perhaps Tom is one of the best at his job and you fear having to search for a replacement?
My friend Bob Champoux likes to ask owners, “Do you have a Melissa at your company? Melissa is the employee who’s been there for a couple decades, plans to retire soon, has seen technology and/or the job requirements pass her by, but you just can’t force yourself to let her go? The answer is often yes, and when selling the company you can bet the buyer won’t keep Melissa.
Now regarding Tom, mentioned above. I don’t know the how often, but the vast, vast majority of the time, when the owner or business buyer lets Tom go, the overall result is positive. The culture improves, the other employees realize it’s a breath of fresh air, and the replacement (of the irreplaceable person) is better and more productive.
People are actually easier to enable than dogs because people are skilled enough to encourage it. When in doubt, get an expert to help you assess and correct the situation.
“What we have learned from history is that we haven’t learned from history.” Benjamin Disraeli

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