ArsonistsAttraction and RetentionCultureLeadershipRogue EmployeesUncategorized

When Building Your Team For The Future, Weigh the Cost of Ignoring Your Culture

By April 30, 2020 May 26th, 2020 No Comments



If you’re like a lot of people and companies right now, you have uncertainty as we reach the re-open/halfway open/thinking about opening/can we survive until we try and open stage?–or whatever stage you’re in today.

As individuals and as companies, we’ll look different, be different, and think differently.  There’s no way around that, as Covid-19 has been a life-changing, game-changing time for all of us.

I’ve talked with a wide range of people in the last few weeks–some entrepreneurs who were caught completely unprepared for the crisis because they never got online, people whose business models are no longer operative because of health concerns (how would you like to own a business heavily reliant on buffets right now?), or those who have laid off longtime employees.

One friend who was forced to lay off numerous people began our conversation with the predictable–it was all about reducing costs, he said.  He hated doing it, as any good employer should.  But layoffs are sadly sometimes necessary. I understood that.

So I pushed him a little more.  “WHO did you lay off?”, I said.  He began to talk about numbers, but I nudged him toward the values part of the equation. And I quickly realized he hadn’t considered it at all.  And he soon realized that he hadn’t thought once about what happens when the company reopens in a new and dramatically changed form, but without some of the key ‘glue’ employees who have kept the company together.

At a time of crisis, he saw only dollar signs when making some of his staff choices instead of dollars, dedication and doers.

So now, as we come out of a very difficult time, he has a mix of some fine employees, but others that are not committed, and some trouble makers.  And trouble makers in a culture can and do have a ripple effect, as they can make life miserable for your good employees, hurt your productivity, heighten your legal risk, and harm your company’s reputation. Plus, at a time when you need to be focused, they’ll drain your energy like few people can.

As you rebuild, retool and refocus, money is going to be a huge factor in your decisions, but cultural and values fit should be just as prominent. Don’t make the mistake of having cheap trump your standards and values when it comes to who is on the team.

Who do you trust during these difficult times? Who do you want in that proverbial ‘foxhole’ with you as you’re struggling to keep the company afloat? Who will you trust when you need a break from the stress.

As we get back to whatever normal is going to be and tough choices may still need to be made, think carefully about who should be on your team. It may be the most important professional decision you’ll ever make.

Pete Havel is President of The Cloture Group–his keynote speaking, training and consulting company for organizations in need of more effective cultures.  His book, The Arsonist in the Office, provides tips, tools, and techniques for dealing with difficult, toxic people and behaviors that put organizations in court and in crisis. For more information on his services, go to To contact Pete, email him at or call 855-662-7766.





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