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Daily Dairy from Contented Cows

A core part of every leader’s duty, regardless of rank, is having the wisdom and courage to sever the relationship with someone whose performance or behavior either persistently or grossly fails to meet expectations. It’s what we get paid to do. Failure on our part to either notice the condition or take decisive action represents a fraud against the person, their teammates, and the organization as a whole.

In our line of work, we deal with lots of lists. Fortune’s annual list of the 100 Best Places to Work; their Most Admired List; Glassdoor’s Best Places to Launch a Career, and the like. We’ve even got a few lists of our own, including our latest list of “Contented Cow” companies, highlighted in our upcoming new book, Contented Cows STILL Give Better Milk.

As election season rolls around and campaigning for public office ramps up (does it ever leave?) most of us dust off the decision matrix by which we choose the candidates we’ll vote for. For some, it’s simply a matter of whether there is a donkey or an elephant next to the candidate’s name. Some might resort to using a dart board. Others are only interested in finding someone they believe to be capable of beating the other guy. Those who want to think a little harder might use an issues or trait-based filter. My own process rests on an analysis of a candidate’s positions on a short list of key issues, coupled with an assessment of vital personal characteristics.

School shootings have, tragically, become an all-too-common part of the world in which we now find ourselves, for reasons that are too complex to speculate on here. Yesterday’s killing of Dale Regan, the Headmistress of the Episcopal School of Jacksonville, from which both of my children graduated in recent years, is only the latest to hit the news. I wish I could be confident that it would be the last.

Ordinarily, we try to have a positive focus in this blog, encouraging leaders to adopt or maintain practices that will coax the very best effort from their teams. As opposed to the usual “start doing this” stance, this post is one of the “don’t do that” variety.

Earlier this week, a political shock jock who is as loved by some as he is loathed by others made completely uncalled for and by most measures, out of bounds comments about the morality of a young female college student. Days later, at the point of spears held by his show’s advertisers, he issued something of an apology.

This weekend, in the afterglow of Valentine’s Day, at least 24 couples will walk down the aisle, tie the knot, and be married, at the same time and place, in the Mexican city of Tijuana. What makes these weddings remarkable is that they’ll not be taking place in a church, a judge’s chambers, or on a nearby Pacific beach, but instead at the Plantronics headset factory where at least one member of each couple works.

Mass weddings in a headset factory? There’s got to be more to that story. And there is.

There is a new cow, ‘er book in the barn, and we want to tell you about it. But first, a little background.

Fourteen years ago we published our first book, Contented Cows Give Better Milk. Our purpose in writing it was to create the first definitive but useful treatise on the real, tangible bottom-line benefits of treating employees right. Among other things, the book contained an exhaustive business case analysis of companies that have excelled in this fashion relative to their peers, coupled with how-to prescriptive advice for leaders who want to replicate those results.

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