The Year of Peak Asshole

According to Bob Sutton, writer of the No-Asshole Rule, 2017 was the year we reached Peak Asshole.

He argues that assholism is highly contagious - that bad behaviour spreads faster than good behaviour.

Even if you see yourself as a good and ethical person, you are not immune to this disease.

He points to some of the usual suspects as being root causes:

+ the wealth gap
+ imbalances in power
+ technology
+ sleep deprivation

To this, we can add the discomfort of operating in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environments, which are becoming commonplace in organisations. Humans are trained to expect certainty and react to uncertainty badly.

How do we get out of it?

Firstly, we have to clearly illustrate that businesses rated as great places to work by their employees dramatically outperform the market. And those rated as the worst places to work perform terribly. We have 25+ years of data showing this.

Secondly, we have to work out how to deliver organisational environments in which people are kind, civil and candid - then show the parallels to great productivity. There's some cutting-edge research illustrating this process.

Thirdly, we have to work out ways to disarm assholes and dickheads before they infect everyone else. People are beginning to seriously examine how we do this.

Maybe the future is bright?