Letting Go

As football season nears the end, so do the jobs of many professional and collegiate coaches around the country.  Firing a coach can be a hard thing to do for organizations. Like in the work place, it sometimes boils down to whether or not they are culturally a good fit. Culture overrides everything, both on the field and in the office. Someone who does not fit the culture can be toxic; they are a cancer to the organization.

One of the biggest mistakes both sports organizations and business managers make, is not cutting out the cancer soon enough. We often do not want to admit that the situation does not get better. We wait too long to get rid of that certain individual, and by the time we do so, it is too late; the damage has been done and the culture has been tainted.

One of the most toxic types of individuals to an organization is the “over-performer.” They are also the hardest to let go. These individuals believe they are above the rules, and their goals and agendas do not line up with those of the company and its culture. It is hard to let these individuals go because at times they are great at their job.  But, in order to have a winning culture, the whole team must be on the same page. No one would argue Terrell Owens was not a great NFL receiver, but they would argue that he was a terrible teammate who struggled to fit into his team’s culture. The fact that most of the teams Owens played on were willing to cut the four time pro-bowler is evidence that even a superstar can hurt a team overall if they do not share the same goals and visions. Reed Hasting, the co-founder of Netflix, applies this notion to the business world by saying “Do not tolerate brilliant jerks. The cost of teamwork is too high.”

As both a business owner and cancer survivor myself, I know that sometimes you have to take the living tissue out with the cancer for the greater good of the body, to survive and once again thrive. It’s always easier said than done, but sometimes it must be done for the good of the team.