I had breakfast with Robert and Jonathan Kraft today, and at the risk of seeming a name-dropper or a sniveling kiss @ss, spending time with them is like a lesson in the values that contribute so much to the success or failure of a business. Among Robert’s most often sited maxims, reinforced at every opportunity, is the importance of working with “good people.”
What does he mean by this? Of course “good people” means competent people, people who are good at what they do. But he means more than that. He means people of high moral character. He means people who are decent, sensitive, smart, ethical, and loyal. “Mensches” who not only do their jobs well, but who make doing yours that much more enjoyable.
It can be a trivial thing to say this. It’s almost a truism – you hear it all the time from parents, teachers, coaches, and CEOs… I mean who’s out there looking for the really bad people?
Tyrants are people with high job performance and low character, the upper left folks in the matrix. We’ve all seen them – the high-performing sales guy who abuses the delivery team; the departmental superstar despised by his peers and subordinates; the external media darling who puts style over substance. There are more than a few archetypes in this quadrant, sad to say. All of them can seem invaluable to a business in the near term, which leads managers to overlook their “personal issues.” Tyrants interpret this as reinforcement of their own power, which engenders further bad behavior, and the cycle continues. Value is destroyed in the enterprise – friction is created, and good people leave.
Only leaders with the conviction to dump the Tyrant without hesitation hold “good people” as a value rather than a slogan. This is the Patriot Way, and it will be ours as well.