No Asshole Rule

No Asshole Rule

Have you ever been in a working environment with a person checking the following boxes?

  • Demeaning
  • Indifferent
  • Devilish
  • Belittling

Employee performance is tied to the treatment of others. It also applies to partnerships in an ecosystem: how do we treat others? Asshole behavior causes non-performance. We can all be assholes, so it’s good to understand the destructive dynamics.

Know the former bestseller The No Asshole Rule by Bob Sutton? A great read! There’re three kinds of assholes in his book:

  1. Withholders, refusing to be a stakeholder
  2. Downers, showing frequent pessimism
  3. Jerks, frequently violating social norms

What’s the negative impact of asshole behavior? If there is only one person for these three categories in a team, the team performance drops by 40 percent. Imagine how this plays out in ecosystems for digital transformation? Face the perverse justification of assholes. Because they perform’ and meet the targets, the behavior is tolerated. In the short term, it seems organizations win, but in the long run, they lose.

There are consequences, so-called Asshole Behavior Taxes”:

  • People avoid your outrage rather than doing what’s best for the organization
  • People only tell the good news and hide the bad for you
  • People protect themselves and cover up their mistakes
  • People dodge constructive conflicts essential for creative problem-solving
  • People are hiding in their Circle of Control’ and avoiding the Circle of Influence’

Time to apply the No Asshole Rule” in your digital transformation? The Circle of Influence’ is the cornerstone for effective collaboration and part of the XLA framework.

Marco Gianotten is founder of GIARTE — At Giarte, we firmly believe IT isn’t about bits and bytes. It’s about people. We design the tools and insights to reveal the human experience in tech