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Cover of "The No Asshole Rule: Building a...

Cover via Amazon

It was 6.30pm. I hurried through my door and flung my handbag on the sofa when the phone rang. I debated whether to pick it up or run to the bathroom. Bathroom won.

5 minutes later it rang again. It was a nice chat with an old acquaintance. Then she asked about Miss Abu, someone that I used to know from the old workplace.

How was it working for her? she asked.

I admitted I don’t know her socially. I was so busy I hardly have time to eat that I blacked-out one night at my table. All interaction that I had with Miss Abu was in meeting rooms. She was hardly around herself.

Why do you ask?

Well, my caller paused a little, everyone says she is a horrible person to work with.

The rest of this conversation doesn’t matter.

When I put down the phone, I thought… what a scary-sad thing that strangers, people who have never met or even know how she looks like, use the word horrible to describe Miss Abu.

I hope I will be remembered a bit more kindly than that.


By Bob Sutton:

The main focus — and greatest hope — behind The No Asshole Rule is that it possible to build a effective company that screens out assholes in the hiring process, and when people do blow it, and lost their tempers or otherwise demean people (after all, it is something that just about everyone does now and then), steps are taken to stop such behavior and to make clear that it isn’t acceptable or desirable. It turns out that this is more than a naïve dream of mine: There are plenty of companies that talk about and enforce “no jerk” or “no asshole rules.” One example is the Washington Mutual, a highly successful bank. I’ve had extensive communication with Lou Pepper, who was CEO in the 1980’s when the bank’s expansion and success really started taking-off. Lou sent me an email when he heard about the book because they enforced the rule at the bank during the years he was in charge, and continued it after he retired — an rule that he believes is essential to their success, especially to their customer service culture. Another example is SuccessFactors, a human resource management software company that has all new employees sign a statement that says (among other things) that “I’ll be a good person to work with — I will not be an asshole.” Lars Dalgaard, their amazing CEO, likes to say “It is OK to have an asshole, but not to be one.” If you go to the company website, there is a great clip of Lars talking about the rule on CNBC. Note that SuccessFactors is living up to its name — they are one of the fastest growing software companies in the world right now.

Read the full article here The No Asshole Rule Part 1.


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