The San Francisco 49ers were one of the most dominant teams in the NFL for most of about two decades.
The 49ers made several playoffs appearances and won five Super Bowls (4 with quarterback Joe Montana and 1 with Steve Young).
Unfortunately, San Francisco has struggled to make the playoffs during most of the 2000s.
Even the great Mike Singletary, who was apart of the 1985 Super Bowl winning Chicago Bears could not have helped the 49ers to make it back to the playoffs.
Then the 49ers made a wise move in hiring Jim Harbaugh as head coach of the team.
San Francisco made three consecutive AFC championships including the Super Bowl, which was dubbed as the “Harbaugh Bowl” because Mr. Harbaugh was coaching against his brother, John, and the Baltimore Ravens.
Then the tumultuous 2014 season came and went with Harbaugh departing the 49ers to become the new head coach at his alma mater, the University of Michigan, even though he had one more year left on his contract with the 49ers.
Earlier in the 2014, they were rumors and reports of how Mr. Harbaugh clashed with the upper management including the General Manager Trent Baalke and the CEO of the team, Jed York.
The sad thing is that it did not have to come to this.
It has been speculated in reports that Mr. Baalke was resentful of the fact that Mr. Harbaugh was getting all of the attention because of San Francisco’s success.
Though he deserves all of the credit setting up Mr. Harbaugh for success with the right personnel for his style of coaching, it was not enough.
Mr. Baalke wanted the same attention like Harbaugh.
What he showed throughout this saga is that he is very insecure because he feels the need for validation for his work.
You might be wondering why I started this article about the San Francisco 49ers?
First of all, I am a 49er fan.
Second, this situation with the 49ers is an example of how a business should not be run.
If a business have any executive that have the same mentality as Mr. Baalke, it is bound to have some problems.
The employees will be worried about keeping their jobs and will not have the freedom to be creative.
And if the employee do create that idea which will help the company to go to another level with revenue and the “insecure” executive see that, he or she will not be really happy for the employee and will try to find ways to make that star employee’s life miserable.
The sad part is that many CEOs allows the “insecure” executive or executives to run their division of the company to the point of where there is no growth.
Case in point, the CEO of the 49ers, Mr. York
He did not think about calling both Mr. Baalke and Mr. Harbaugh in a meeting to let them know that the bickering was not going to be tolerated anymore.
He failed to get them both on the same page of the fact that they should have put aside their differences and focus on the ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl.
Instead, Mr. York allowed the organization to become very toxic to the point of where people were backstabbing each other and throwing people under the bus.
When you create a culture where you allow your employees to talk negative behind each other’s back, the result will be very dismal.
The company’s reputation will be damaged and you will probably receive negative media attention from bloggers, reporters, and journalist to the point where your customers will not want to purchase your product or service.
That is what happened to Mr. York when he was criticized by Michael Rosenberg in a Sports Illustrated article with this quote, “York has created a culture that encourages selfishness, weakness and back-stabbing.”
And the worse part if businesses allows a toxic culture to take root is that the departed employee will talk bad about their former work place to their friends like Mr. Harbaugh did when he told ESPN that “I was told I wouldn’t be the coach anymore.”
So how can businesses avoid the same predicament that the 49ers found themselves in?
1. Create a culture of where they allow their employees to shine. “Examples, IBM with many of their employees including Samantha Klein, Jim Claussen , Marketing Profs with their star employee Ann Handley, Edelman with their star employee David Armano and Rackspace with the very influential Robert Scoble.
2. Be very transparent with your fans and audience.
3. Do not allow people who have giant egos to run your company because they will run it to the ground.
4. Allow your employees to attend conferences where they will bring back valuable wisdom that can take your company to the next level.
So you have seen why a business should not allow their culture to be as toxic as the San Francisco 49ers.
If I can leave you with one final word of wisdom, it is this: “Don’t Allow Your Arrogance Get In The Way of Common Sense.”
It will wind up costing you business in the end.