August 19, 2004

News & Opinion: All Workers Are Not Created Equal

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 3:52 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The key to success in the Age of the Individual requires understanding that not all individuality is valuable. Weirdness rooted in genius is different than weirdness that is purely for the sake of individual expression or rebellion. There is a difference between the eccentricities of an Einstein and the employee whose lack of personal hygiene knocks you over.
For organizations to thrive in The Age of the Individual, they must become meritocracies, i.e., where ones success is rooted in his/her value and contribution. There are three categories of weirdos in the workplace. Those who should be accommodated and even celebrated (geniuses and high-performers), those who can be tolerated (decent hard working people who are just annoying, but cause no harm), and those who must be terminated (i.e., whose outlandish behavior overshadows their value to the organization), and they are all defined by a cost-benefit premise I call the Weird:Worth ratio.
The more you are worth, the more you can be weird, which leads to the 3rd new rule for a new age

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.