1: Getting better at getting better is what RiseWithDrew is all about.

Monday through Thursday, we explore ideas from authors, thought leaders, and exemplary organizations. On Friday, I share something about myself or what we are working on at PCI.

Turns out the old saying, “One bad apple ruins the bunch,” was absolutely right.

In his book The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle shares research by Will Felps, a professor of organizational behavior at the University of New South Wales in Australia. 

Will trained an actor, Nick, to portray one of three different negative archetypes: “the Jerk (an aggressive, defiant deviant), the Slacker (a withholder of effort), and the Downer (a depressive Eeyore type),” Daniel notes.

“Bad Apple Nick” was placed into forty four-person groups charged with creating a marketing plan for a start-up. We can think of Nick as a human virus injected into these groups. 

Turns out Nick is really good at being bad. 

“In almost every group, his behavior reduces the quality of the group’s performance by 30 to 40 percent,” Daniel writes. “The drop-off is consistent whether he plays the Jerk, the Slacker, or the Downer.”

2: As leaders, what do we make of this experiment?

First, we cannot tolerate “bad apples.” Associates with negative attitudes and behaviors must change their ways or exit the organization.

That seems pretty obvious.

3: But there’s an essential second lesson here as well: A great workplace culture brings out the best in all of us. Our performance is impacted by the environment in which we work. 

As leaders, when we create a positive, engaging workplace culture, we raise the performance of all our colleagues.

And our own.

More next week!


Reflection: What are three moves I can make to improve the workplace culture on my team or at my company?

Action: Do it!

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