Yes, good guys die first!
Well, OK, I know it is not always the case. But I want to point out how and when it happens. It is not inevitable, but it really happens in many business organizations.
Sometimes, I like to joke that good guys stand still only happen in movies. That is not in any way trying to be cynical. I said that because in most of my experience, and perhaps also from history, the good guys rarely survive till the end of the chronicle.
Indeed the word ‘die’ here is not literally means death, but more as termination or losing. There are different ways of how it happens, such as becoming a martyr, becoming a hero, or could also be losing for a greater good. While these are often true to the reality, often times these also some sort of nice packaging of what was an unnecessary lost.
And unnecessary lost are often the case in business organizations where good guys die first!
I called it as unnecessary lost because these good guys ‘die’ when the organization actually needs them. Here are three notes on this:
- Good guys die first is the most common situation when the organization failed to differentiate the good guys from the bad guys. Instead of keeping the good guys, the failed to recognize these good and mistakenly favor more on the bad guys. In most cases, this happens when there is a combination of ineffective management with ‘fake’ talents. As an impact to this failure, many wrong decisions will be done and sacrificing the organization in the process…and of course, ‘burn’ the good guys too.
- Good guys often die first because of the lack of vision in the organization. This is a natural mechanism, I would say, as an organization without vision will generally waste good people, and easily exploited by ‘scavengers’ who have no desire to improve the organization whatsoever. Lack of vision will create unclear direction, messy business processes, and ineffective budget and resource allocation. This set of issues will end up as poor decisions and poor remuneration, the two most lethal bullets to kill the good guys.
- The classic failure on people investment also one of the best ‘killer’ for good guys. Real good guys are the kind of people who get things done. These type of people are rarely asking for investment on them (such as training), and yet they have the habit to use all kinds of training they ever receive to improve the business. The biggest challenge is that if they not asked for it, there is quite a big risk that the business doesn’t invest on them because they seem to be productive anyway. Or, the business will invest on trying to ‘fix’ the bad guys, which to my experience, will result to no avail. And eventually, when the business realizes this failure, it is already too late.
In a simple way to say is that good guys die first in failing organizations, because only a failing organization who could waste its best resources. They may not aware about it, and perhaps the business bottom lines are not showing any failing. Not until all the good guys are wasted.
What do you think?