The story surrounding the Miami Dolphins and whether Richie Incognito bullied rookie teammate Jonathan Martin has more drama than seven years of “Sex and the City” and may drag out in the tabloid magazines for just as long.
But underlying all the accusations, rumors, opinions and jokes about the Miami Dolphins is a leadership lesson that all organizations should heed: When leadership loses control of the culture, it erodes trust, commitment and positive results.
Sounds fairly simple, but the Dolphins aren’t the only ones to get it wrong. So, it’s time for another play-by-play of how such debacles can be avoided at other organizations:
- Don’t hand off the culture. “If you do not manage culture, it manages you, and you may not even be aware of the extent to which this is happening,” says Edgar Schein, professor at MIT Sloan School of Management. Former Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith skewered the “toxic culture” of the company in the New York Times, calling it “destructive” and saying he could “no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.” Martin reportedly sent Incognito a text after the controversy erupted that said, “It’s insane bro but just know I don’t blame you guys at all. It’s just the culture around football and the locker room got to me a little.” As former IBM CEO Louis Gerstner said, “The thing I have learned at IBM is that culture is everything.” This may be something the Dolphin’s leadership needs to think long and hard about.
- Deliver a consistent message. There are reports that other football teams didn’t believe Incognito to be leadership material, but that’s not really important at this point. What is important is that once leaders choose someone to help them deliver the cultural and leadership message, they must always ensure that the message is (read the rest here)
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