An Organization that Supports Differences Can’t Afford to Get Rid of Whiners

Friday, June 1st, 2012

An Organization that Supports Differences Can’t Afford to Get Rid of Whiners

Paul Alof wrote 8 Rules For Creating A Passionate Work Culture for the FastCompany blog. He provides a sound list of attributes. However, I disagreed with him on one item. Here is what I posted.

While I agree that items on this list can be important attributes of an organization in attracting and retaining talented and committed people, I do have one concern.

Tend to the weeds does make sense. Far too many organizations hang onto people who aren’t adding value or are diminishing the performance of others. But whining in meetings is not synonymous with poor performance. Whining can be irritating, yes, but sometimes that whining is just what we need to hear.

I often encourage my clients to have “coffee with Joe” (and Joe can be either gender). These are the people who will tell you things that others may never have the courage to say. Since the Joe’s of the world don’t seem to understand the phrase “career limiting move,” they speak candidly.

If we tend to the weeds too vigorously, we risk subverting the ideal of Celebrating Differences. When we say a behavior or even expression of a belief can get you fired, we invite conformity. It’s like saying, we celebrate differences, but only those we approve of.

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