Cut Out the Office Cancer for Better Office Health

Executive Summary: A lot of offices have that one person or that one small clique that creates a negative atmosphere in the office. You and your office will be better off with this cancer removed. Cut it out.

Bad attitude. This person or persons I’m referring to may exist in your office. He’s always negative, she’s always backstabbing, they’re always putting down the company – these attitudes reverse prosperity of your company or, at best, stagnate growth. And to compound the problem, their affect is usually not isolated to just themselves. They spread throughout an organization like a cancer.

Yeah, I said it. It’s not politically correct, but I lost my uncle and aunt from cancer and every two months even my father goes in to have part of his forehead excavated or the tip of his ear scarfed off – it’s melanoma or trying to be.

Cancer is often lethal in humans in short order, but in business our odds are good. We have the ability to take immediate and certain action to affect positive change.

Don’t wait, just do it. Each day that you allow the cancer to exist, it continues to metastasize. Spreading to your office staff and then to your field staff. It gets quickly ingrained in employee behavior and it’s not long for our clients to notice. And then your subcontractors and vendors. It brings down your office and says to all of these parties, that management doesn’t have the gumption to do the right thing.

My story. About a year ago I was on site with a client whose division manager was always negative – “we can’t make money because I don’t have the right staff” and “if we bought another couple trucks, I could be more successful” et cetera. The owner felt his only option on this division’s success was to keep this manager in place; it weighed heavily on the CEO.  He called me two months ago after he cut the guy – he said he feels relieved.

For me, it was my office in the Pacific Northwest. Each time, as the owner of my company, I visited the office I was treated like an outsider. Like an adversary. Constant complaints by my top managers of not enough cash and our poor support staff back in the main office and even complaints from my clients to me about their mean streak. But, like my client above, I didn’t know how I was going to survive without these guys. I had decided to make a management change, but not before I received their two simultaneous email notifications of resignation. My stomach immediately came up through my throat, but thirty minutes later I realized it and said to myself, “Scott, this is the best day of the year. The cancer’s gone!”

The Pacific Northwest immediately became a place I looked forward to visiting, not dreading.