Similarly, what should you do if the “star” of your own organisation continues to push the boundaries?
Worldwide successClarkson is extremely entertaining and this has seen Top Gear become a worldwide sensation with a global audience of 350m. At its heart the show is about three middle-aged men doing things that many of us would love to do. They are having fun, being cheeky and pushing the boundaries; all aspects that have been a key part of Top Gear’s – and Clarkson’s – success formula. But pushing boundaries on camera for a TV audience is one thing; pushing boundaries inside the organisation by having an altercation with another member of staff is another. Let me ask you…
- What would you do in your own organisation if one employee were, for example, to punch another?
- Do you make exceptions if they are a high revenue-producer?
- Which do you value highest – moral behaviour or revenue?
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ValuesOver the last few years, Clarkson has been at the heart of a number of contentious incidents. Many of these events have caused public outrage, but at the same time the popularity of Top Gear as a show has continued to grow. This causes a potential dilemma for BBC bosses as remaining a respected, trusted brand is of course critical to the BBC. And if you have a Clarkson in your own organisation then you face a similar decision. To let them off and turn a blind eye to their negative behaviour may not be living your stated values and this in turn can lead colleagues and customers to lose trust in the organisation. To staff, if this situation is not managed extremely carefully, it sends out some potentially terrible messages: “one rule for important people, one rule for others”, “certain people can do what they like” and “money is more important than principles”. In your own business you may have a “star” player, such as a senior leader, who is guilty of one of the following:
- Being extremely negative, leading others astray, causing division
- Erratic and temperamental behaviour towards others
- Not living the company values
- Drunk and irresponsible out-of-hours behaviour
- Fiddling the figures or breaking rules
- Being sexist, racist or homophobic
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- Have clear expectations in the first place of what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable, with clear ramifications
- Be consistent. Treat all people equally and fairly regardless of position
- If you have organisational values then use them to make your decisions. The impact of not living your values is way larger than you may realise
Time to punch out?So if you find yourself with a Clarkson in your team then you must deal with it powerfully. Clarkson may be exceptional and exceptionally valuable, but no one person can be bigger than the organisation. Martin Palethorpe is executive coach at The Pragma Group.
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