An extraordinary performer will add little to a toxic environment – an environment that puts results above people, that promotes performance at all costs, that prioritizes external over internal input, that assumes lower ranked people are less important than those higher up.

So before you get to hiring (and firing, and hiring again, and firing again), make sure your internal system is working as you intend it to work. Make sure you have rewards that promote the behaviour you wish to promote. Make sure you have rules in place, or even better norms, that will guide people to speak up, to share ideas, to flag issues, and give them the freedom to follow up.

Shaping systems is a long-term effort that requires high levels of awareness, and not many organisations want to committ to that.

It’s a mistake.

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