What does a ludicrous and non-germane amendment on an invasive species legislative bill have in common with organizational culture? The similarities may surprise you. One of the great qualities of Lake Nona is the intersection between the business community and the health and wellness community. Being a triathlete, I get excited when I see groups of athletes running or riding bikes around Lake Nona. This business and medical community is being built to attract and welcome the outdoor fitness community.
Apparently, this is not the goal of one Montana state senator. In 2017, the president of the Montana State Senate filed an amendment onto an existing bill that would impose a fee on all out-of-state bikers entering the state. To add insult to injury, the bill that this amendment was attached to was dealing with an “invasive species” of mussels to Montana, thus identifying cyclists as invasive species! In his comments, the senator called cyclists “some of the rudest people I’ve ever – I hate to say it, but I’m just going to be bold – they’re some of the most self-centered people navigating on highways, or on county roads I’ve ever seen,” according to the Missoula Current. “They won’t move over,” he added. “You can honk at them; they think they own the highway.” Although I don’t agree with his method of dealing with this issue, he does have a point. On many occasions I have witnessed cyclists with riding behaviors that I would classify as being very “invasive.” These behaviors by a few can destroy the perception of the entire cycling community. They can also destroy the culture of the entire group of riders.
So, what’s the connection to business? Leaders from any industry often must deal with people that can destroy the culture of the team, or worse, the entire organization. I call these people “invasive species” to a winning culture. These destroyers of culture exhibit one or more of the following three invasive behaviors:
Negativity- this person is always pessimistic. They do not see the good in any situation. They have the tendency to turn even the most positive conversation into a diatribe of reasons to be negative.
Narcissism- this person is always full of themselves. The focus of every conversation will somehow turn back to them and why they are better. Their main tendency is to “one up” every story by making themselves sound superior.
Apathy- this person just doesn’t care. They don’t care to get involved in any conversation. They don’t care to be a team player. They don’t care about the work, period. Their focus is everywhere but the job at hand or the people they work with.
In nature, invasive species normally creep in slowly and often go unnoticed until they start to disrupt the ecosystem. Left alone, they will eventually take over and destroy everything in their path. This can also happen in an organization. Left undealt with over time, the people who exhibit one or more of these invasive behaviors can destroy the culture of the team, or worse yet, the entire organization. Leaders who are astute to culture will recognize very quickly when any of these behaviors are present and deal with the “invasive species” before they have a chance to disrupt or destroy the culture of the team or entire organization. By dealing with these behaviors early and effectively, leaders will protect the cohesiveness of their team and send a strong message that they care most about those who bring value to the organization.