A Simple Rule Is Having a Big Impact

I didn't invent the rule. I discovered it—at a small, fast-growing, highly successful company that implements simple practices with extraordinary results.

One day I was having lunch with my friend and client Dwight Cooper, a tall, thin, mildmannered former basketball player and coach who had spent the last 10 years building and growing a company he cofounded into one of the leading nurse staffing companies in the world. Dwight's company, PPR, was named one of Inc. magazine's Fastest Growing Companies several times, but on this day PPR was named one of the best places to work in Florida and he was sharing a few reasons why.

Dwight told me about a book he had read that dealt with jerks and energy vampires (negative people) in the workplace. But after reading and reflecting on the book, he realized that when it comes to building a positive, high-performing work environment, there was a much more subtle and far more dangerous problem than jerks. It was complaining and more subtle forms of negativity, and he knew he needed a solution.

Dwight compared jerks to a kind of topical skin cancer. They don't hide. They stand right in front of you and say, "Here I am." As a result you can easily and quickly remove them. Far more dangerous is the kind of cancer that is subtle and inside your body. It grows hidden beneath the surface, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, but either way, if not caught, it eventually spreads to the point where it can and will ...

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