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People Disrupt Processes: Adopt a "No Dickheads" Policy

Heather Grace, Guest post. 15 March 2017, 6:58 am
People Disrupt Processes: Adopt a "No Dickheads" Policy

Everything we do has a process. Part of the business invest hours in creating flow charts and process maps to ensure we all know the steps of the process, the communication flow, the decision tree for every situation. This is a great idea by the way - to ensure everyone knows what is expected. But no matter how good your processes are, there is a pitfall - it all comes down to the people involved.

Often, when I am helping an organisation to map out processes and look for blocks and bottlenecks to be removed, I uncover more than just process faults. Sure, there will always be things that need to be changed to streamline your business processes or to enhance your communication flow processes, but other things usually come to light that have nothing to do with steps on a chart. 

In your team of wonderfully talented individuals, you have a mixture of capabilities, personalities and egos. Each person has a vital role to play as a piece in the greater jigsaw puzzle of the organisation. But sometimes ego gets in the way.

Talent is not everything. Our sports teams have found this out the hard way. Some of our national teams, now have a "No Dickheads" policy. What do we mean by a "Dickhead"? Let me explain, and while you are reading this you may find this description reminds you of some people you know…

How to spot a Dickhead:

These people usually do have talent, in fact they may be acclaimed for having a very high level of expertise. Nothing wrong with that!

Unfortunately, Dickheads also have huge egos. They like to stand out as being the best and the most talented. They pride themselves in being the top dog and they make sure everyone knows it.

Typically, you might find these attributes as well:

They may love taking credit for things that go well, but do not help others to do well or acknowledge helpful input from others in their success.

They may blame others when things fail, but will not acknowledge any fault of their own or admit their mistakes.

They may be secretly happy when others fail because it makes them feel superior.

They may criticise others, put others down, ridicule or make fun of other people.

They may have a closed mind to training or learning because they feel they already know it all.

They may pretend to know answers to things they don't really know, but will try to bluff their way through.

They might make excuses when things go wrong.

They may appear to have a bad attitude when it comes to other team members, but they could be quite adept at schmoozing up to the management team.

Quite often these people are polarising. Some members of the team will admire their talent and special skills and look up to them. Other members of the team will feel ridiculed and belittled by the actions of this "know-it-all".

If you have a person like this in your team, it is important to acknowledge their talent. It is also important to set some goals for how they can help others rather than keep their special knowledge or talent to themselves. 

If a know-it-all is charged with the responsibility of coaching others and being part of the overall team success, rather than basking in the glow of individual success, you may be able to harness this talent in an effective way.

If this person is polarising your team, it will create blocks in your processes and disrupt the flow of your organisation. No process map can fix this. Stubborn attitudes, keeping useful information from others, making team members feel useless - all of this will impact on morale and productivity.

Be bold. Adopt a "No Dickheads" policy in your organisation. Make it clear that such attitude and activity is not acceptable in the team. Talent is not everything! Anyone who puts down another team member, either secretly or in a meeting, is creating an injection of poison into the team. Do not tolerate it. Report it. Speak out about it. If the Dickhead is really clever, then the Dickhead can learn better manners!

Success With Grace is home of the TechBiz Success Academy, coaching and training to help technology based businesses grow. For information about TechBiz programs go to Also check out Business Communication and Customer Communication workshops in


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