“The No A**hole Rule” is a book, and it is also, in my opinion, the magic ingredient everyone is looking for. Not that it will fix all the world's problems; but it will fix most of them. This is true. I do not exaggerate. Let me prove this to you.
How much time do you spend in the company of others in the workplace? Most people will answer more than eight hours per day. Remember when you go out to a restaurant or movie, that’s a work place too, so are public spaces, roads, churches, etc.
Ok, so we all spend a lot of time in workplaces. Now, how many of these places need some improvement? I’d say most of them - it’s an imperfect world, right? Why is it so; is there a natural order that demands imperfection? There is not, and I’ll wager that most of the imperfections are due to people. And not just any person: a specific type. They go by many names. Sometimes they are called sociopaths, thugs, jerks or a**holes.
Recent research has in fact found all of the aforementioned people are in fact identifiable within organisations and the harm they cause is measurable. Removing these people or behaviours also shows a measurable improvement to the working environment. It’s been done and proved and the empirical data is there for all to see.
A**holes are the problem and removing them is the cure. What problem exactly, do you ask? I’d be concerned if I were asking that question. If you’ve never come across the harm caused by jerks and a**holes in your life, then maybe you might need some self insight because maybe you are one? Or you’ve been living in a cave…
Let’s imagine a world where everyone is treated with care and respect; where ideas are valued, creativity is nurtured and kindness abounds. Seems utopian. Now imagine a world exactly like it really is right now, but make just one small change: remove the jerks and a**holes or at least edit out that behaviour, then compare this world to the utopia in the former case. See the resemblance?
Now picture a workplace like this as well. Some of you may imagine something a bit like the Googleplex. This is no accident. Take a look at all the most successful workplaces like Google, Virgin, Intel and you will see the same pattern: jerks and a**holes are removed and the company thrives. It’s true that these ugly personalities have been popular in the past, and in some places they brought about short term gains to business bottom line, but in the long run, the competing company that actively seeks to eliminate their behaviours, succeeds, profits and grows.