Monday, 4 June 2007

One asshole rule

This is a book that was brought to my attention while reading Guy Kawasaki's Blog , a few months ago. I think that Guy got a copy of the book before it was released as a pre-preview. His review gives it a positive feeling.

Having sighted it at the bookshop the other day, I purchased a copy of the book to perhaps better myself and drive the asshole out of me, and perhaps influence other to do the same.

The book is written by Robert Sutton, a Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University. I have only read the book over the last few days, in between my other things, and have come across quite a interesting ideas from Robert.

The best one, so far, is the idea of a token asshole. Robert's book mainly deals with workplace situation, but the concepts that he writes about are just as applicable in other situations. Robert's suggests that having a token asshole in the environment will help shape up the ship. It appears that it uses the fright emotion in us. Robert calls this the "one asshole rule". It uses the token asshole to reminder us that we will become one of them if we don't actively stop our asshole behaviours.

Robert says
Because people follow rules and norms better when there are rare or occasional examples of bad behaviour, no asshole rules might be most closely followed in organisations that permit one or two token jerks to hang around. These "reverse role models" remind everyone else of the wrong behaviour.

It scares me to think that it takes something like the "one asshole rule" to keep a workplace nice and enjoyable to work in. I wonder if this is an American centric behaviour?

I shall post more insights from this book as I read more of it.

By the way, the book is "No Asshole Rules", published by
Warner Business Books. Its ISBN 978-0446526562

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