Junkies and Enablers

As you might have heard, The Masters gets underway today.  Tiger Woods tees it up this afternoon, making his reappearance in professional golf since his little Thanksgiving turkey trot and subsequent unmasking.  But this piece isn’t just about Tiger.  It’s about you and your business.  You see, Tiger had a bunch of people helping him to do all those horrible things to feed his addictions.  Every junkie has them – people who buy alcoholics drinks, let junkies in their medicine cabinets, lend money to gamblers.  They’re the enablers and in many ways they’re just as screwed up.  Thing is, you just might be one.

Usually, enablers are those who help others behave in self-destructive ways (not always, there are positive enablers as well!).  If your business has problems, you might want to take a hard look at the role you and your team play in enabling.  The manager who is always complaining about losing his best people but won’t give out rewards to the stars or fire the losers.  He’s an enabler.  The salesperson who over-promises and under-delivers – enabler.  The finance person who uses “creative” accounting to hide fundamental financial problems and paint a far rosier picture to bosses, managers, and shareholders.  You get the picture.

We all have friends or family members with problems and most of the time we take steps to help them overcome them.  Why aren’t we just as supportive of our businesses?  Instead of having a staff intervention to fix what’s wrong, why do we let the problems linger, or worse, hide them, or help them to continue?

Tiger was surrounded by enablers, much as he might deny it.  It’s nice that he’s making a lot of positive (if partial) statements.  In my opinion, until he changes those around him or empowers them to say “no”, he’s going to continue to have issues.  Your business may be in the same situation.  What are you going to do about it?

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