Those would be the Victims, Nonbelievers and Know-It-Alls, according to G. Michael Maddock and Raphael Louse Viton, in their Businessweek article, Three Types of People to Fire Immediately.
Those types of staff will slow you down, block innovation, and discourage the rest of your team.
Victims see problems and obstacles everyplace that you see incredible opportunities.
These people feel persecuted by humans, processes, and inanimate objects with equal ease—they almost seem to enjoy it. They are often angry, usually annoyed, and almost always complaining.
Nonbelievers aren’t just not on the team, they know that nothing will work.
I’ve seen this quote several times recently. It rings true, doesn’t it?
We love the Henry Ford quote: “If you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.”
In EntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey says that small business owners are the cause of their staffing problems. Who hired those problem staff? And who keeps them around? The owner.
The author’s parallel comment:
If you are a leader who says your mission is to innovate, but you have a staff that houses nonbelievers, you are either a lousy leader or in denial. Which is it? You deserve the staff you get.
The Know-It-Alls are so smart that they can see all of the obstacles to innovation.
This reminds me of an idea I heard in grad school that very few MBAs start their own business. Why? They know the failure rate of startups is skyhigh and can give you a 20-slide PowerPoint presentation of every obstacle that could arise.
The best counter to that natural tendency is to build a learning culture (and fire the know-it-alls).
The best innovators are learners, not knowers. The same can be said about innovative cultures; they are learning cultures. The leaders who have built these cultures, either through intuition or experience, know that in order to discover, they must eagerly seek out things they don’t understand and jump right into the deep end of the pool.
Hmmm. Learning cultures. Constant learning. L>C (thanks MACPA!). Outrun change. That’s a major theme on this blog.
My summary and expansion of the author’s article?
If you want an innovative atmosphere, make it happen.
The authors have a book out on innovation: Brand New: Solving the Innovation Paradox
(Hat tip: Tim Murphy)