I've found a Cure for the Oakland Raiders!

Fellow Raiders,

The past several weeks has been exhausting for all of us I'm sure. I've gotten up off the ground, looked around, tried to realize where I am, and sure enough, I STILL don't know whats going on in the Silver and Black Universe. Things I have been able to gather, Which I like by the way, are that this team is doing things it has never done before. Firstly, most obviously, and most importantly we have a General Manager whose name doesn't rhyme with "Pal, pave this." This is part one of two of the most important developments in recent Raider History. Secondly, we have hired a Defensive Coordinator as a head coach. I think these are brilliant moves which will generate immediate results.

Ok, enough with stating the obvious.

I started writing this for a reason, an important one I might add. I am a business student at the University of New Orleans. Recently in a class, quite interestingly enough "Staffing and Developing Personnel in Human Resources," my professor ( a really cool cat by the way ) gave us this article about "Bad Apples" and I couldn't stop thinking about the Raiders. Mr. Allen, Mr. McKensie, I encourage you to read this article and hope you are up to the challenge. I think this article sums up what has been wrong in Oakland since Gruden and the Bucs stomped our asses. Whether you take this literately or in metaphor (both are true in my opinion and this applies to both Staff and Players), this is your challenge gentleman. Cure this and you cure the Raiders. This article was written by Robert Sutton, a Professor of Management Science at Stanford Engineering School, for the Wall Street Journal. Hit the jump and read this very insightful article!

How a few bad apples ruin everything, WSJ, Robert Sutton

A growing body of research suggests that having just a few nasty, lazy or incompetent characters around can ruin the performance of a team or an entire organization—no matter how stellar the other employees.

Bad apples distract and drag down everyone, and their destructive behaviors, such as anger, laziness and incompetence, are remarkably contagious.

Leaders who let a few bad apples in the door—perhaps in exchange for political favors—or look the other way when employees are rude or incompetent are setting the stage for even their most skilled people to fail.

It's crucial for leaders to screen out bad apples before they're hired—and if they do slip through the cracks, bosses must make every effort to reform or (if necessary) oust them. But studies of everything from romantic relationships to workplace encounters show that negative interactions can pack a much bigger wallop than positive ones. The reason is simple: "Bad is stronger than good," The negative thoughts, feelings and performance they trigger in others are far larger and longer lasting than the positive responses generated by more constructive colleagues.

Impact of team members who were deadbeats:

Slacker: withholders of effort, downers who express pessimism, anxiety, insecurity and irritation

Jerks: violate "interpersonal norms of respect".

An experiment found that having just one slacker or jerk in a group can bring down performance by 30% to 40%.

How can organizations squash those negative influences?

The easiest way is to avoid hiring bad apples in the first place—and that means taking a different approach to assessing candidates for jobs.

The usual means of screening are often weak when it comes to determining if a job candidate is a bad apple.

Candidates may have gone to the best schools or may come across as charming and brilliant in interviews—thus disguising their laziness, incompetence or nastiness.

One of the best ways to screen employees is to see how they actually do the job under realistic conditions. The process reveals that several candidates who looked great on paper and came highly recommended but weren't offered jobs—because technical and interpersonal weaknesses surfaced during the selection process.But the most effective thing is to bring candidates in for a day or two and give them a short job to accomplish.Not only do they learn a lot about the candidates' technical skills, but they also learn about their personality.

How do they deal with setbacks?

Do they know when to ask for help and to give others help?

Is the candidate the kind of person they want to work with?

The process reveals that several candidates who looked great on paper and came highly recommended but weren't offered jobs—because technical and interpersonal weaknesses surfaced during the selection process.

Play Nice or Else

Beyond smarter screening, it's important to develop a culture that doesn't tolerate jerks.

The best organizations make explicit their intolerance for bad apples:

They spell out which behaviors are unacceptable in the workplace and act decisively to prevent and halt them.

Create a culture where disrespect and selfishness are unacceptable – the "no jerk rule". But, use a more colorful word than "jerk", like Asshole for example.

During the interview, I look them in the eye and tell them, 'If I discover that you are a jerk, I am going to fire you,' " he says.

When the company makes a hiring error and brings aboard an employee who persistently demeans colleagues or puts personal needs ahead of others, the CEO acts quickly to deal with or expel the bad apple.

This crusty approach won't work in every company culture.

Here’s another way to cull Assholes.

The process usually starts when a manager conveys the message that the boss isn't "entirely pleased."

If the hints don't work, then the manager—or someone else close to the boss—does the firing.

Keeping Them Close - There are times when an organization can't—or won't—remove a destructive personality.

Maybe the person is a star as well as a bad apple, for instance, or is otherwise crucial to the operation.

In such cases: try to use coaching, warnings and incentives to curb the toxic employee's behavior.

Another tactic is to physically isolate the bad apple.

Beware: Leaders who believe that destructive superstars are "too important" to fire often underestimate the damage they can do.

A revealing episode: After a productive Asshole was fired none of his former colleagues sold as much as he had.

But the store's total sales shot up by nearly 30%.

The lesson: the Asshole brought the others down, and when he was gone, they could do their best.

All I can say is this guy must have encountered the Oakland Raiders in atlleast some capacity. This article makes too much sense for him not to have. Thoughts? Anyone? Bueller?

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