Holy (sacred) cow! Nobody’s indispensable.

Posted by Kristin Baird on September 19th, 2013 • 2 Comments »

As unlikely as it may seem at times, nobody is indispensable. Don’t get me wrong, we all have people we rely on to get the job done and keep things running smoothly. But make sure you exercise some degree of caution when you start to think of others as indispensable. If you allow yourself to think this way, you may be setting yourself up to believe there is nothing to be done about bad behaviors.

More than once in the course of my career, I’ve encountered sacred cows that have been allowed to bully, throw tantrums, and refuse to follow the rules. When their managers were made aware of the bad behaviors, they were quick to make excuses for them, pointing out that the department or organization desperately needed them. What they didn’t realize is that they were excusing bad behaviors because the troublemakers were (in their eyes) worth it.

Beware of becoming too tolerant of people and behaviors that could threaten your culture. What you permit you promote. And whether or not it’s obvious, others are watching how you handle the sacred cows, so by being overly tolerant you could be damaging your own credibility.

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Baird Consulting

2 Responses to “Holy (sacred) cow! Nobody’s indispensable.”

  1. Diane Ball says:

    Yes, I totally agree! In my opinion these are the employees that are holding back patients from scoring a survey question as “always.” During my experience of conducting focus groups around the HCAHPS questions, patents and families would state the staff were great BUT their was one nurse or one tech etc. that was mean or rude. During these times when patient satisfaction is connected to reimbursement, managers need to work with their HR departments to coach these employees either “on” or “off ” the bus in order to maximize the financial health of the organization.

  2. James White says:

    Thank you for reminding me of this. At the last practice I worked for the “sacred cows” feasted while the organization and the physicians were beginning to starve. A very valid point for many organizations. I challenge all of us to examine ourselves for sacred cow attitudes and behaviors.


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